WASHINGTON: White House hopeful Mitt Romney said Friday's US unemployment uptick to 8.3 percent has dealt a "hammer blow" to the middle class, but ignored data showing the economy created far more jobs than expected.
"Today's increase in the unemployment rate is a hammer blow to struggling middle-class families," the Republican candidate said in a statement shortly after the Labor Department released its jobs report for July.
Romney, who is challenging President Barack Obama in November's election, said his own plan to strengthen the middle class would "bring more jobs and more take home pay" to American families than his rival's.
"President Obama doesn't have a plan and believes that the private sector is 'doing fine.' Obviously, that is not the case," he added.
"We've now gone 42 consecutive months with the unemployment rate above eight percent. Middle class Americans deserve better, and I believe America can do better."
Romney, who advocates lowering individual and corporate tax rates, slashing government spending and easing regulations on energy companies to help make America energy independent by 2020, has predicted that his economic plan would lead to 12 million new jobs created by the end of his first term.
Nowhere in Romney's statement did he mention the Labor Department's report that a solid 163,000 jobs were created in July, many more than the 100,000 expected from economists.
House Speaker John Boehner did acknowledge the better-than-expected jobs data, but said Obama's policies were continuing to hold down job creators like small businesses.
Boehner used the monthly report as an opportunity to hammer home the Republican argument that raising taxes at the end of this year would trigger economic disaster.
"Any new job creation is welcome news -- but with unemployment still above eight percent and rising, and millions of Americans looking for work, it is insane to raise taxes on small businesses, as the president and his allies in the Democratic-controlled Senate propose," Boehner said in a statement. AGENCIES