Even as the nation’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 8.1 percent in April, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney called Friday’s jobs report “terrible and very disappointing.”

View Photo Gallery: With the Republican presidential nomination essentially assured, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney steps up his criticism of President Obama.

The unemployment rate has been slowly ticking down over the past few months, but Romney is arguing that the recovery has been anemic because fewer Americans are actively looking for jobs. While the country added 115,000 jobs in April, Romney said Friday that in a “normal recovery,” each month would bring some 500,000 new jobs.

“This is way, way, way off from what should happen in a normal recovery,” Romney said on Fox News. “It’s a terrible and very disappointing report this morning.... We seem to be slowing down, not speeding up. This is not progress.”

According to Labor Department figures, the average annual monthly growth in nonfarm payroll jobs has been about 200,000 over the last 20 years, with only two months, in 1997 and 2010, reaching the 500,000 rate.

Appearing on “Fox & Friends” minutes after the jobs report release, Romney blamed the sluggish recovery on President Obama’s record. The former Massachusetts governor said Obama’s health care overhaul, energy policies and growing federal deficit were inhibiting growth in the jobs market.

“I think the American people know that their lives are not better than they were three and a half years ago,” Romney said. “They know that the incomes in this country have not risen; they’ve fallen.”

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