Romney targets 4 percent unemployment

Associated Press Modified: May 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm •  Published: May 4, 2012
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Jostling for an advantage on the economy, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday set a target of 4 percent for the nation's unemployment rate, while President Barack Obama proclaimed it "good news" that the U.S. economy is consistently adding jobs.

Each presidential rival used a fresh jobs report to bolster his own campaign's economic narrative. The Labor Department gave mixed results for April, saying the economy added 115,000 jobs, fewer than expected, and the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 8.1 percent, mostly because more people gave up looking for work. People not looking for jobs are not counted as unemployed

Obama called the report another sign of slow but steady progress in pulling the economy out of the depths of recession. But Romney said the new figures bolstered his case that the president's policies have not worked fast enough for the millions of Americans still looking for work.

"Anything over 4 percent is not cause for celebration," Romney said as he campaigned in Pittsburgh.

Earlier Friday, Romney said the economy should be adding about 500,000 jobs a month, more than four times the April figures. "This is way, way, way off from what should be happening in a normal recovery," Romney said.

If Romney wins the White House, his 4 percent unemployment target could come back to haunt him. The Obama team learned the hard way to avoid setting specific goals after advisers predicted the jobless rate would fall below 8 percent if Congress passed the president's massive economic stimulus bill.

Congress acted, but the unemployment rate still spiked and has yet to fall below 8 percent.