Obama touts new jobs numbers, warns Congress not to ‘muck up’ recovery

Liz Goodwin
The Ticket

President Obama touted January's jobs gains as a signal of economy recovery and warned Congress not to "muck it up" in a speech at Fire Station No. 5 in Arlington, Virginia.

Obama said he had a message for Congress--pass the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance extension without "drama" or delay. "Do not slow down the recovery we're on now. Don't muck it up," he said.

Obama had good economic news to tout in his speech. The economy added 243,000 jobs in January--the most jobs added since last April--and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent, according to the jobs report released Friday morning. The unemployment rate is the lowest it's been in three years.

Still, many Americans are working part-time and would prefer full-time work or have stopped looking for work, a fact Obama acknowledged in his speech. About 24 million Americans, or 15 percent of the population, are unemployed, under-employed or have dropped out of the labor force.

The president also touted his efforts to connect returning veterans with jobs as park rangers, police officers, and firefighters in their communities, as well as to provide those who want to start small businesses with entrepreneurial job training.

This is the second time in three days that Obama has traveled to Virginia, a political swing state. His potential GOP rival Mitt Romney released a statement saying he "welcomed" the lower unemployment rate, but that Obama's policies "have prevented a true economic recovery."

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