Jobs report is ‘terrible,’ Mitt Romney says

For obvious reasons, the White House offered a more positive view of Friday’s unemployment report, which showed that the economy added only 115,000 jobs in April.

And for equally obvious reasons, Mitt Romney’s take on the report was significantly dimmer.

In an interview with Fox News Friday morning, the likely Republican presidential nominee said the Labor Department report was “terrible and very disappointing.”

Romney said he’d like to see growth in the neighborhood of 500,000 jobs per month.

But as The Washington Post’s Peter Whoriskey points out, that kind of growth might be a hard target to reach.

Whoriskey writes: “Yet an economy that is consistently adding 500,000 jobs a month has rarely been achieved in U.S. history, according to Labor Department figures. Over the last 20 years, there have been only two months - once in 1997 and 2010 - when the economy added nonfarm payroll jobs at that rate. The average annual monthly growth in those payroll jobs over the last two decades has been about 200,000.”

Joe Watkins, a GOP political analyst, said on CNBC Friday morning that as much as both parties try to use the jobs data to make the other’s vision for the recovery look flawed, the national jobless rate may not have that much bearing on the election results in the end.

“What I say it means for the presidential election is that all politics are local. Even if the White House tries later on today to spin the numbers as some kind of a positive sign, you’ve got to remember that this race is going to come down to maybe five or six states,” he said. Therefore, an assessment of the jobs picture in those states might be a better predictor of how the election will shake out, Watkins said.

Wondering how the state of the economy might weigh on Romney’s chance of winning in November? Check out Ezra Klein’s election predictions tool, which uses a model that factors in economic growth and presidential approval ratings to forecast who will win in November.

More from The Washington Post:

Economy adds 115,000 jobs in April

Obama's time grows short on the economy

Wonkblog: Recovery has been soft

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economics news.
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