Weak US Jobs Report Casts Cloud over Obama Campaign Trip

Posted July 6th, 2012 at 10:55 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama is suffering the blow of another disappointing monthly jobs report as he wraps up a two-day campaign bus tour Friday in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The government reported Friday that the sluggish U.S. labor market added just 80,000 new jobs in June, as the country's jobless rate stayed at 8.2 percent.

This marks the third straight month of weak hiring in the U.S. and deals another setback to Mr. Obama's claims that the U.S. economy has improved since he took office.

Mr. Obama's presumptive Republican opponent in the November presidential election, Mitt Romney, called the nation's jobless rate “unacceptably high” and said the president's policies “have not gotten America working again.”

The closely-watched monthly jobs and unemployment report has become a barometer for the state of the world's largest economy and is playing a key role in the U.S. election.

Ohio and Pennsylvania are two crucial states in the November general election, both of which Mr. Obama carried in the 2008 election. The president is using the campaign swing to portray himself more like a champion of average, working-class Americans than Romney, who was a wealthy businessman before entering politics.

Romney's supporters have begun to criticize him for not taking a more forceful stance against the Democratic incumbent. An editorial Thursday in the conservative-leaning Wall Street Journal newspaper says Romney is “slowly squandering a historic opportunity” to undercut Mr. Obama's re-election bid by not putting out a clear message on a number of issues, including the national health care reform law that was upheld last week by the U.S. Supreme Court.

But Republican Party officials announced Thursday that Romney had raised more than $100 million in June, along with state and national party committees.

The former Massachusetts governor is enjoying a break from the campaign, vacationing with his family in New Hampshire.

Speaking at a campaign stop near Toledo, Ohio Thursday, Mr. Obama announced a new complaint filed with the World Trade Organization on more than $3 billion in allegedly unfair Chinese duties on American-made cars. He told the crowd that Americans need a “fair playing field.”

Toledo is home to a big auto plant complex. Mr. Obama noted that six previous WTO challenges to China have been successful.