While cheering the drop in unemployment reported by the Labor Department, Romney said the White House is still standing in the way of economic growth.


“We welcome the fact that jobs were created and unemployment declined,” Romney said in a news release. “Unfortunately, these numbers cannot hide the fact that President Obamas policies have prevented a true economic recovery. We can do better.”

GOP leaders in Congress echoed that message earlier in the day. House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorBottom line Virginia GOP candidates for governor gear up for convention Cantor: 'Level of craziness' in Washington has increased 'on both sides' MORE (R-Va.) said “we shouldn’t settle” for the current unemployment situation, and Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE (R-Ohio) said “we must do better.”

Romney has staked his candidacy on his experience in the private sector, pointing to his record as an executive at Bain Capital as evidence that he knows how to create jobs.

While 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, Romney said there’s still a long way to go.

“Nearly 24 million Americans remain unemployed, underemployed or have just stopped looking for work,” the former Massachusetts governor said. “Long-term unemployment remains at record levels. I am running for president because I have the vision and experience to help rebuild the economy and put us on a path toward greater prosperity for all Americans.”

The economy added 243,000 jobs in January, far more than economists expected, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised November’s and December’s numbers higher, but Romney pointed to the weak gross domestic product numbers released last week as evidence that growth remains sluggish.

“Last week, we learned that the economy grew only 1.7% in 2011, the slowest growth in a non-recession year since the end of World War II,” Romney said in his release. “As a result, the percentage of Americans in the job market continues to decline and is now at a level not seen since the early 1980s.”

The jobs report is good news for the Obama campaign, as the Republican presidential field has consistently blasted the president’s policies for deepening the recession.

Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi called the jobs report “unambiguously” good, and said it looks as if the economy is “breaking out.”