Obama hails job growth figures

President Barack Obama on Thursday hailed new data showing the US economy churned out 288,000 jobs in June as a sign the long US recovery is gathering momentum.

Washington: President Barack Obama on Thursday hailed new data showing the US economy churned out 288,000 jobs in June as a sign the long US recovery is gathering momentum.

The Labor Department`s monthly employment data showed unemployment dipped to 6.1 percent.

"We just got a jobs report today showing that we`ve now seen the fastest job growth in the United States in the first half of the year since 1999," Obama said at a tech start-up workshop in Washington.

"This is also the first time we`ve seen five consecutive months of job growth over 200,000 since 1999.

"We`ve seen the quickest drop in unemployment in 30 years.

"It gives you a sense that the economy has built momentum, that we are making progress," Obama said.

The president also called on Republicans to stop blocking what he says are prescriptions to make the economy grow even faster and to alleviate the burdens still felt by many in the middle class.

"We can make even more progress if Congress is willing to work with my administration and to set politics aside, at least occasionally, which I know is what the American people are urgently looking for," Obama said.

The statistics showed that the economy created 288,000 net new jobs last month, which was much better than expected, and that an average of 231,000 new positions have been added each month since January.

That helped pull the unemployment rate down faster than predicted to 6.1 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from May and 1.4 points from a year ago.

Republicans argued that the recovery could be even better were it not for Obama`s policies and blamed the Democratic-led Senate for stalling on their own job-creating ideas.
"We need a Republican majority in the Senate so we can get job-creating legislation to the president`s desk and job-killing policies like Obamacare out of the way of American workers," said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

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