STRATHAM, N.H. – President Bush (search) told New Hampshire voters Friday that the nation's economy is improving, even as the latest unemployment (search) report shows weakness in the creation of jobs.
"I'm not going to be satisfied until everybody who wants to work can find a job," Bush told cheering supporters at a picnic in New Hampshire, where recent polls show him tied with rival John Kerry (search).
Bush's remarks followed the release of new figures showing the nation's economy added 32,000 jobs in July, representing the smallest gain in hiring since December. Analysts were expecting the economy to add anywhere from 215,000 to 247,000 jobs in July.
Monthly job growth of 200,000 to 300,000 is regarded by many economists as a yardstick for healthy economic recovery.
"Today's employment report shows our economy is continuing to move forward," Bush told the crowd in the only Northeastern state he won in the 2000 election.
"We're in a changing economy and we've got more to do," said the president, who was making his third trip of the year to New Hampshire.
In addition to the meager job gain for July, the government revised the June employment report, showing a gain of just 78,000 jobs, even less than previously reported. May's payrolls also were revised down to show a gain of 208,000.
New Hampshire's economy is mixed, with an unemployment rate consistently below the national rate. New Hampshire has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs since the president took office. The state's rate for June was 3.9 percent, a fact that drew cheers when Bush remarked on it in his speech. The national jobless rate for July was 5.5 percent.
"You proved that we're moving America forward and we're not turning back," the president said.
On his way to the picnic, Bush's motorcade passed opposing groups of demonstrators on the way to the picnic, one group shouting "Four more years!" the other shouting, "Three more months!"
Bush is in New England to spend a weekend at the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. He is attending the wedding of his nephew George P. Bush, the son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.