The U.S. economy now has more jobs than it did when the president took office in January of 2009.
With the addition of Friday's fairly strong jobs report, plus upward revisions over the last couple of months, there are now 194,000 more jobs than there were in January of 2009, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And the number could be even higher once more expected revisions are released. Last month, the Labor Department released a statement saying it likely under-counted jobs created in much of 2011 by around 386,000. Those are preliminary figures that could still change when the final data is released in February.
But by either measure, Obama can now be called a job creator.
"The stimulus did what it was expected to do," said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, referring to the $787 billion package of spending and tax cuts pushed through by the president in early 2009. "We are on a path to recovery."
But with the presidential election just days away, it's little surprise that others are less willing to give the president credit for what they see as a recovery that's taking far too long.
"The consequences of failed 'stimulus'-style spending, excessive regulations, and the threat of tax hikes are all around us: record debt, higher gas prices, stagnant wages, and an economy that's far weaker than it should be," Speaker of the House John Boehner said in a statement Friday. "The Obama administration predicted the unemployment rate would be below six percent by now."
Given that the jobs decline started before Obama entered office, employment is still far below 2007 levels.
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The last few months of jobs reports have been so-so, with hiring barely strong enough to keep up with population growth. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remains stuck at 7.9%.
Roughly 12.3 million people remain unemployed, 40.6% of whom have been so for more than six months.