Republicans rejected slightly better-than-expected job creation in July as not good enough on Friday, using it as political fodder against President Obama.
The unemployment rate ticked downward to 9.1 percent in July after the economy added 117,000 jobs last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). June's anemic job growth was revised upward to reflect 46,000 jobs added.
"When you see what this president has done to the economy in just three years, you know why America doesn't want to find out what he can do in eight," said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R).
"Despite today's jobs report showing a slight improvement, with 9.1 percent unemployment, it is still evidence that the president's failed economic policies are digging us deeper into a hole," Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said in a statement.
Said former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R): "Today's dismal jobs report is a far cry from the hope and change that President Obama promised on the campaign trail … It's time for a new president to point us back in the right direction, and I am the only candidate who has proposed a specific economic plan that will create jobs and grow our economy."
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) hit on Thursday's dramatic drop in the stock market in his statement.
"The president has had 2.5 years to turn around the American economy and it is clear he has failed," he said. "In less than one day, Americans have witnessed a considerable drop in the stock market and yet another jobs report showing an unemployment rate above 9 percent."
Jobs and the economy remain a major issue in the presidential campaign, and the unemployment rate remains above 9 percent; the administration had projected that unemployment would stand between 6 and 7 percent by this point with the implementation of its stimulus plan.
The sluggish performance of the economy has prompted Obama to retrain his focus on jobs and the economy during this month's August recess following weeks during which D.C. was consumed by a bruising debate surrounding the debt ceiling. Those considerations are part of the motivation for the president's mid-August bus trip through the Midwest.
Democrats, though, pushed back against Republican criticism of the president's management of the economy, casting the GOP presidential hopefuls as even worse for the economy.
"As we learn more and more about the Republican presidential candidates, it’s clear that they aren’t offering any new ideas. Nowhere is this more true than on the economy. The field of Republican candidates simply offer the same failed Republican economic policies of the last decade that nearly drove our country into a second Great Depression," said Democratic National Committee (DNC) communications director Brad Woodhouse in a memo Friday to the producers of Sunday morning news programs.
Updated 10:25 a.m.