From NBC's Mark Murray
It has become a predictable pattern in the first year-plus of Barack Obama's presidency: The White House and Republicans spend the first Friday of every month reacting to the new jobs report.
And today isn't any different, although the arguments from the two sides have changed with the news that the economy added 162,000 in jobs with the unemployment rate remaining at 9.7%.
Here's White House economic adviser Christina Romer:
Today's employment report shows continued signs of gradual labor market healing... While this is the most positive jobs report we have had in three years, there will likely be bumps in the road ahead. The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative. It is essential that we continue our efforts to move in the right direction and generate steady, strong job gains.
Here's RNC Chairman Michael Steele in a statement (although we haven't heard from him publicly since the sex-themed club story broke):
No matter what spin the White House puts on these job numbers, it is unacceptable for President Obama to declare economic success when unemployment remains at 9.7 percent and a large portion of the job growth came from temporary boost in government employment.
And here's House Minority Leader John Boehner:
A 9.7 percent unemployment rate is no cause for celebration, and any politician who takes a victory lap for it is out of touch with the struggles working families and small businesses asking 'where are the jobs?' are facing.
Today's private-sector job gains are encouraging but not nearly what President Obama promised when he signed the trillion-dollar 'stimulus' into law last year with promises it would keep unemployment below eight percent and create jobs 'immediately.' Our economy has lost more than three million jobs since then and unemployment remains near ten percent.