Unemployment rate drops to 9.7%, GOP leaders unmoved

The economy added 431,000 jobs last month, dropping the national unemployment rate from 9.9 percent to 9.7 percent, the Department of Labor Statistics announced this morning.

But Republicans, who a month ago were saying that they’d recognize progress when the jobless rate fell, aren’t impressed. Indeed, Republican House Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) just issued a statement blasting the stimulus programs that are propping the numbers up.

[M]uch of what the Administration touts as a ‘jobs recovery’ has caused – and will continue to cause — the deficit to soar. Let me be clear – during challenging times, a job is a job. Yet government jobs that are paid for by taxing small business people and borrowing from the Chinese are not signs of a healthy economic recovery.

He has a point: 411,000 of those 431,000 new jobs are related to the 2010 Census and therefore temporary. Still, any new job creation is good news relative to the hundreds of thousands of jobs the economy was shedding a year ago. And, of course, the idea behind stimulus spending all along has been that the short-term hit to the deficit will be a tiny cost relative to the consequences of federal inaction.

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