The first figure is the number of consecutive months that the national unemployment rate has stood above 8 percent.
The stretch runs from February 2009, when the rate was 8.3 percent during President Barack Obama’s first full month in office, to last month, when the rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent.
The second figure is the number of consecutive months of private-sector job growth.
The two numbers encapsulate the messages that the two major political parties are conveying to the media and voters today, following a Labor Department report that said employers added just 80,000 jobs last month.
You’ll hear a lot of 41s from Republicans and a lot of 28s from the Democrats over the next few weeks.
“There’s a lot of misery in America today, and these numbers understate that people are feeling and the amount of pain which is occurring in middle-class America,” presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said today in New Hampshire.
“Employment is growing but it is not growing fast enough given the jobs deficit caused by the deep recession,” Alan Krueger, the chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement on the White House website.
Bloomberg has extensive coverage of the jobs report, including this analysis by Alex Kowalski.
The jobs report carries enough political significance that Obama addressed its findings during a campaign bus tour in the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania today, as Mike Dorning and Kate Andersen Brower write.
Romney has suggested that Obama has done a worse job managing the economy than Jimmy Carter, who was unseated in 1980 by Ronald Reagan. Yet most economic indicators are stronger now than they were at a similar point in Carter’s presidency, Rich Miller and John Detrixhe write.