President Obama: May Jobs Report Shows Economy is 'Moving in the Right Direction'

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports:

President Obama said this morning that the May jobs report is a "sign that our economy is getting stronger by the day."

The Labor Department reported today that the nation added 431,000 jobs in May, the fifth consecutive month of job growth.

Obama credited his administration’s policies for the turnaround from “an economy that was shrinking at a scary rate” in January 2009, to the current progress of a half a year of steady job growth.

“What these numbers do mean though is that we're moving in the right direction,” he said. “The economic policies that we've put in place are working.”

While touting the report as a positive sign for the nation’s economy, Obama did note that most of the jobs in the May report were created to complete the 2010 census and noted that they are temporary jobs that will only last until the fall.

Obama cautioned that while the economy improving, there will still be “some ups and downs.”

“This doesn't mean that the recession is over for the millions of Americans who are still out of work or the millions more who are still struggling to make ends meet,” he said. “No words, no statistics can take away the pain and the anxiety that a family feels because of this downturn. That can only be relieved with a steady paycheck and the security that a steady job brings.”

The president struck a partisan tone, echoing the campaign-like rhetoric he has used on the road recently, in defending the Democrats’ economic policies compared to those of the Republicans.

“Now that we're starting to climb out of this hole that was dug for us, we can't go back to the very same policies that failed us in the last decade, the same policies that led us into that hole,” he said.

Without explicitly mentioning the upcoming mid-term elections, Obama said the nation will have a choice between the ideas and principles of each party and a choice to move forward or backward.

“We're going to be able to return, if we want, to the failed economic policies of the past, policies that gave us record deficits and declining incomes and sluggish job growth even before the recession, policies that led, in fact, to us almost going into a depression,” he said. “We can take that road again, or we can decide we want to move forward. We can keep building a stronger economy.”

In order to do that, the government needs to “keep creating the conditions” in the short-term where businesses can keep hiring and in the long-term, invest in the technologies and innovation that will lead to the jobs and industries of tomorrow.

Obama credited Vice President Joe Biden with overseeing the execution of the Recovery Act. The president said that Biden “hasn’t gotten a lot of credit for it, but it has been scandal-free.”

“The money has been spent on time,” he said as a beaming Biden stood behind him.

-Karen Travers

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