The most dismal jobs report in eight months - only 54,000 added - again highlighted what promises to be the number one issue for voters leading up to the 2012 election. With an unemployment rate now over 9 percent, GOP hopefuls had little trouble finding angry words for President Obama and his handling of the economy.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney
"Today's unemployment numbers show that we are going backwards, and that is the wrong direction for America. President Obama's policies made the recession worse and as a result more people are out of work. These unemployment numbers should not be viewed as just statistics - these are real families facing significant economic peril because President Obama has failed to pull us out of this economic downturn. Americans deserve a president who will make job creation his number one priority."
"While this administration promised job creation and an unemployment rate under 8 percent with the passage of the stimulus spending packages, based upon today's unemployment report, the unemployment rate still hovers around 9 percent. We have yet to see the positive results from the billions of taxpayer dollars spent in that process. Wednesday's jobs figure shows only 38,000 new private sector jobs were created, a number significantly less than the projected 177,000 in previous forecasts. Experience has taught me that government cannot create jobs. Instead, government is responsible for creating a favorable environment for businesses to thrive and succeed. If we are to fix this problem, we must focus our efforts on increasing access to capital and availability of new markets, adjusting unfavorable regulations for corporations and, in many instances, retooling and retraining our workforce. It's time we have a discussion about real job creation and what must be done to raise consumer confidence and create stability in the marketplace. Real results are needed now."
Former Gov. Jon Huntsman
"Today's report showing a rising unemployment rate and staggeringly little job creation further demonstrates that this country is in need of policies that will actually grow jobs. As governor of Utah - while our country faded into recession - we created an environment that brought jobs to the state without resorting to out of control spending and debt. It is time for America to do the same, putting an end to the suffering of millions of Americans who are struggling to find economic opportunity."
Texas Rep. Ron Paul, via spokesman Jesse Benton
"If the latest job numbers are any further indication, none of the centralized schemes deployed by Washington's elites are helping regular Americans. As a matter of fact, Barack Obama and the big government crowd are destroying our economy, and our dollar," said Jesse Benton, Paul's campaign chairman.
"Despite the fact that none of the past nearly trillion-dollar economic stimuli have worked, all signs point to the Federal Reserve gearing up for another round of ‘quantitative easing' - meaning more destruction of the already-weakened dollar. At the same time, we have an official Washington that refuses to acknowledge the looming fiscal crisis our country faces with regards to our debt and continues to spend with no end in sight," continued Benton.
"We are going to see real suffering in this country if we do not balance our budget and restore sound monetary policy. And we need to do it now."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
"America cannot wait, we must take immediate steps to put America back on the path of economic growth and job creation... This report is also a reminder that while the news media is focused on trivia, too many Americans are in pain. America only works if Americans are working. The CNN/WMUR/Union Leader June 13th Republican debate in New Hampshire must focus on job creation because that is the most important topic for America right now."
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson
"These jobs numbers add even greater urgency to the fact that the deficit, the debt and the failure by Congress and the Administration to take meaningful steps to address spending are sucking the life out of the economy. Given the absence of any real assurance that the budget will be balanced any time soon, and that we will stop printing and borrowing money we don't have, it is no wonder that employers are not in a position to hire."
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty
"Today's underwhelming job numbers report demonstrates President Obama's failure to address the tough challenges we face as a nation. We need a leader to stand up and make the difficult choices essential to spur economic growth and create new jobs. It's clear that serious changes must be implemented to get our economy back on the right track, and I would not shy away from the challenge. By owning up to the hard truths we face, addressing them, and then enacting an aggressive growth plan, we can create jobs and secure a brighter future for America."
Former Sen. Rick Santorum
"This morning's disappointing jobs report is just another stark reminder of this Administration's failure to believe in the American people and their entrepreneurial spirit. Rather than empowering people and the free market to drive our economy, President Obama has instead decided to focus on the heavy hand of government. As history has shown, government intervention and infusion may spur minimal short-term growth, but over the long haul those policies do nothing but explode our deficit and take freedom away from the American people. That is not what our Founders intended, that is not how we put people back to work, and that is not what is best for the future of our country."