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President Barack Obama calls the U.S. unemployment figures for June “a step in the right direction,” but he says he is not satisfied with the pace of the nation’s economic recovery.
The Labor Department says the U.S. economy added 84,000 private-sector jobs in June, fewer than expected, and that the unemployment rate remained at 8.2%.
At an elementary school near Youngstown, Ohio, President Obama said that is progress, but not enough. “We cannot be satisfied, because our goal was never to just keep on working to get back to where we were back in 2007. I want to get back to a time when middle-class families and those working to get into the middle class have some basic security,” said Obama.
Obama’s likely Republican opponent in the November election, Mitt Romney, called the jobs numbers “another kick in the gut to middle-class families.”
“American families are struggling,” said Romney. “There is a lot of misery in America today. And these numbers understate what people are feeling, and the amount of pain which is occurring in middle-class America.”
While vacationing in the Northeastern state of New Hampshire, Romney said the president’s policies have not reignited the economy, put people back to work or reopened manufacturing plants.
Obama was in the second day of a two-day bus tour through the manufacturing-heavy states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, which many experts believe could be crucial in deciding the outcome of the election.
Both states suffered huge job losses in manufacturing, but both rebounded and now have unemployment rates below the national average.
The president has claimed that his 2009 government bailout of the then-troubled U.S. auto industry helped to spark the region’s economic comeback.
Obama has appealed to working-class voters on this tour, saying he is representing their interests more than Governor Romney, who was a wealthy businessman before going into politics.
Romney says his business experience will help him create jobs and enable American businesses to prosper.
After speaking in the industrial areas of Toledo, Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown, the president’s next stop was the prestigious Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Young voters were a big part of the coalition that helped elect Obama in 2008, and he is counting on them again this year.