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Romney on unemployment: 'Anything over 4 percent isn't cause for celebration'

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Romney was responding to news that the unemployment rate dropped from 8.2 percent to 8.1 percent last month after the economy added some 115,000 jobs. Those numbers were weaker than expected, and Romney argued the falling unemployment rate was primarily due to Americans giving up on finding jobs.

"Normally, that would be cause for celebration, but anything near 8 percent or over 4 percent is not cause for celebration," Romney said. "The reason the rate came down was because around 340,000 dropped out of the workforce … this is a sad time in America, where people who want work can't find jobs."

That's an ambitious goal by Romney, and one Democrats will be sure to seize on if Romney wins the presidency. The unemployment rate hasn't been below 4 percent since 2000.

Earlier Friday, Romney said the economy should be adding half a million jobs a month, and blasted the jobs news as "terrible."

"We should be seeing numbers in the [range of] 500,000 jobs created per month,” Romney told Fox News. “This is way, way, way off from what should happen in a normal recovery,” Romney said.

In Pittsburgh, Romney blamed "liberal policies" for a struggling economy.

"People across the country are having hard times and wondering why it is. And I'll tell you why it is, it's because President Obama is out of ideas, he's out of excuses, and in 2012 we need to put him out of office," Romney said.

Romney also blamed high energy prices for stagnant job growth, and said the president should open additional federal and offshore lands for coal and natural-gas mining.

"If energy is expensive in this country, if we drive its prices higher and higher, then businesses that use a lot of energy go out of business," Romney said.

"We have a president who is continuing to push against economic freedom and making it harder and harder for businesses start," he added.

The White House issued a statement Friday saying that the falling unemployment rate was "further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression."

"It is critical that we continue the economic policies that are helping us dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began at the end of 2007," said Alan Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

"President Obama has said that prosperity in America has always come from a strong and growing middle class. He has made clear that getting back to where we were is not enough," he continued. "We need to do more, which is why the President has laid out his blueprint for an American economy that is built to last and will continue to urge Congress to act to do more to grow the economy and create jobs."

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