GOLDEN VALLEY, MN -- President Barack Obama acknowledged on Friday that the economy still wasn't creating jobs to his satisfaction, pointing to outside variables as factors in depressing the recovery.
“Today we're still fighting our way back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The economy is growing again, but it's not growing as fast as we want it to grow," the president said. "Our businesses have created almost 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months, but as we learned in today's jobs report, we're still not creating them as fast as we want."
Obama's appearance at a Honeywell manufacturing facility in Minnesota was meant to, once again, urge Congress to take action on his "To-Do List." This time, the president focused on pushing Congress to pass legislation creating a Veterans Jobs Corp to further aid returning Afghanistan and Iraq veterans in their hunt for employment.
But the dismal jobs numbers announced overshadowed his other announcements, and an upbeat message about companies like Honeywell hiring veterans.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment jumped to 8.2 percent in May, and the economy added 69,000 jobs were created last month. For African Americans, the unemployment rate rose to 13.6 percent in May, and to 11 percent, for Hispanics, over the same period.
The president’s remarks about jobs came right after presidential candidate Mitt Romney took to CNBC to chastise Obama for blaming Europe and Congress for the slow economic recovery. "First it was George Bush, then Congress, ATM machines, then it was Europe. The truth is it's the job of the president to get people back to work," said Romney.
And the president did cite European headwinds and Congress as barriers to economic growth.
“We had high gas prices a month, two months ago, and they're starting to come down, and you know, they were spiking, but they're still hitting people's wallets pretty hard. That has an impact. And then most prominently, most recently we've had a crisis in Europe's economy that is having an impact worldwide, and it's starting to cast a shadow on our own as well," he said.
After giving Congress “credit” for passing parts of the America Jobs Act, Obama rebuked them for not doing more.
"Congress has not acted on enough of the other ideas in that bill that would help make a difference and help create jobs right now. And there's no excuse for it, not when there are so many people out there still looking for work, not when there's still folks out there struggling to pay their bills,” he said.
The president emphasized that the fact that it’s a election year should not stop Congress from moving on some of the initiatives the President claims will aide in job creation. “It's not lost on anybody that it's an election year. I understand that. I've noticed,” he said to a few chants of “four more years” in the audience of about 1700.
He continued, “we've got responsibilities that are bigger than an election…So my message to Congress is, now's not the time to play politics, now's not the time to sit on your hands.”