Cantor: 'We shouldn’t settle’ on jobless rate above 8 percent

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Friday’s better-than-expected jobs numbers were “encouraging,” but that Americans “shouldn’t settle” for an unemployment rate that remains above 8 percent.

“After several years of bad jobs news, we are finally seeing some good news in today’s jobs report,” Cantor said in a statement. “These numbers are encouraging, especially for those millions of Americans out of work, but we should aim even higher. We shouldn't settle, we can do more, this is America.”

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The economy added 243,000 jobs in January, far more than economists expected, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised November's and December’s numbers higher.

The unemployment rate is now down to 8.3 percent, the same as it was during Obama’s first full month in office in February 2009.

In Cantor’s Friday statement, he continued to press the GOP message that the government stands in the way of economic growth in the private sector.

“We need bold, pro-growth policies that reduce red tape and will help our nation's small businesses to succeed, expand and create new jobs. Small businesses are the backbone of America, generating more than half of the new jobs in our country.”

Cantor also lobbed a back-handed compliment at the president, saying the president was “finally” beginning to embrace the GOP’s initiatives to help small businesses.

“This week, President Obama finally acknowledged the need to help small businesses, offering many of the same proposals the House passed last year that help small businesses access capital and ease tax and regulatory burdens. But we should think bigger.”

Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi called the jobs report “unambiguously” good, and said that it looked like the economy was “breaking out.”

None of the GOP’s presidential candidates has weighed in on the report yet; however, front-runner Mitt Romney has staked his candidacy on his ability to better manage the economy, which he says the president has made worse.

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