President Barack Obama took time Friday to boast about the January jobs report — which showed the unemployment rate dropping to its lowest rate in eight years — and to mock Republicans for their criticism of the economy on the presidential campaign trail.
“The United States of America has the strongest, most durable economy in the world,” he said. “I know that’s still inconvenient for Republican stump speeches as their doom and despair tour plays are in New Hampshire.”
He began his press conference by mentioning that unemployment is below 5% nationally for the first time in eight years — and that the deficit and gas prices are down.
“We also have to do more to make sure the progress we make is broadly based,” Obama said. “Talking down the American economy does not bring that progress.”
When he was later asked about why many Americans remain anxious about the economy, he said the US should be “proud” of the progress under his administration.
“If we embraced Republican strategies we would have done worse,” he said, pointing to European austerity measures.
“Because Europe did a lot of those things and they haven’t recovered yet,” he continued. “This jobs report gives one more indication that the facts are on our side.”
He then added that the idea that “immigrants and poor people” are taking away money out of people’s paychecks “is just not true,” a not-so-subtle shot at rhetoric emanating from the Republican presidential field.
“The facts don’t bear that out,” he said.
Friday’s jobs report showed that wage growth, too, was stronger than anticipated, in addition to the manufacturing sector adding its greatest number of jobs since August 2012. The labour-force participation rate rose slightly, as well.