More jobs have now been created than lost since President Barack Obama took office, preliminary revisions to the U.S. payroll count showed.
The number of jobs created in the year ended in March was revised upward by 386,000, the Labor Department said in Washington yesterday. If that estimate is confirmed in the final report, it would wipe out the 261,000 employment deficit spanning January 2009 to last month that is currently on the books and mean the U.S. has created a net 125,000 jobs since Obama was inaugurated.
At the same time, the 8.1 percent unemployment rate in August was higher than the 7.8 percent when Obama took the oath of office. Joblessness has exceeded 8 percent for 43 consecutive months, the longest stretch in monthly records dating to back 1948.
“The jobs recovery over the last 2.5 years has been a bit stronger than initially reported, although much work remains to be done to return to full employment,” Alan Krueger, chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement.
The figures won’t become official until the final update is issued with the January employment data released in February 2013, three months after the presidential election.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s campaign responded to the revisions by turning the focus back on the jobless rate, saying the president has fallen short of his own economic advisers’ 2009 estimates of how much unemployment would decline following the $832 billion stimulus measure.
“President Obama’s administration promised, with the passage of the stimulus, that unemployment would currently be at 5.4 percent with 9 million more people working,” said Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “With unemployment at 8 percent or higher for the 43rd consecutive month and 23 million Americans struggling for work, President Obama’s policies have failed miserably by his own standards.”
Obama campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher said that, as the revised job numbers were being released today, “the president gave Virginians specifics about his plan to keep America moving forward, get folks back to work and make the middle-class secure again.
“Mitt Romney opposed the president’s jobs proposal, which could still create as many as 1 million additional jobs, and instead he proposed plans that independent economists say would slow the recovery and actually cost us nearly a million jobs.”
Obama last September proposed the American Jobs Act, which would have cut payroll taxes for workers and employers, provided aid to states for schools and emergency workers and increased spending on public-works projects. The $447 billion package was blocked by Senate Republicans a month later.