The persistent jobless rate of 8.2 percent
Friday disappointed President Obama, who said he was not
"satisfied" as he campaigned in Ohio for his reelection in November.
Hours after the June figure was released by the Bureau of Labor Satistics, Obama tried to put the best spin on the weak jobs report, noting that weakness in the job market had not developed overnight and that the U.S. economy had created 4.4 million jobs in the last 28 months.
"That's a step in the right direction," Obama said. "But we can't be satisfied."
Republican rival Mitt Romney put full blame for lingering unemployment on Obama, saying the stagnating unemployment figures are a "kick in the gut of the middle class."
Romney said persisting high unemployment was darkening the mood of most Americans, especially when so many of the employed are working in jobs for which they are too qualified.
If elected, Romney said he would deregulate U.S. industry, sink tax rates, repeal recent health reforms and do more to keep China from "stealing America's jobs."
According to the jobs report, payrolls rose 80,000 in June after a 77,000 increase in May, falling short of the more than 100,000 projected by economists over the past days.
Obama took office in January 2009 in the midst of the deepest economic downturn in 80 years. The jobless rate peaked at 10 percent in October 2009, and dropped to its lowest in April at 8.1 percent.
The rise to 8.2 percent in May and June reflected a stalled economic recovery after a pickup in growth in 2011. Ongoing uncertainty about the eurozone crisis, combined with bitter partisan gridlock in Washington over budgetary issues, have contributed to labor uncertainty.
Since World War II only one U.S. president has been returned to office with the unemployment rate above 6 percent. Ronald Reagan won in 1984 despite a jobless rate of 7.2 percent, but with a roaring economy that had seen unemployment fall from 10.2 percent just 18 months earlier.
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