Entries in Economy (133)


White House: Jobs Report Confirms Continued Economic Recovery

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Friday's jobs report showed that U.S. employers added nearly 200,000 jobs in the past month, gains that the White House calls proof of the continuing recovery from the recession that began in 2007.

In a statement on Friday, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Alan B. Krueger, said that the most recent report is "further confirmation that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression."

While the overall unemployment rate remained stuck at 7.6 percent, the rate of participation in the labor force rose by 0.1 percent.

The White House stressed that there is still work to be done, but that the 5.3 million jobs added since June 2009 is evidence that the economic recovery is continuing to gain traction. The economy has added private sector jobs for 40 consecutive months, with 7.2 million jobs added in that span.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama's Economic Tour Starts at Canadian Manufacturer in NC

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Wednesday kicks off a three-day post-State of the Union tour to promote 'made in America' with a visit to a Canadian auto parts manufacturer in North Carolina.

The Linamar Corp. facility in Asheville illustrates the positive economic trends that Obama claimed credit for in his address Tuesday night and wants to encourage in a second term: more American and foreign companies moving manufacturing operations to the U.S. ("insourcing"); steady growth of skilled private-sector jobs; and effectiveness of government-sponsored hiring incentives.

In 2011, the company first set up shop in Asheville, lured by state grants and a pool of workers with technical skills to do the job.  It employs about 360 workers now with plans to hire 250 more and make a $75 million capital investment over the next five years.

“Training grants, tax credits, a fair business tax rate -- those things really work,” Linamar President and COO Jim Jarrell told ABC News.  “We moved to North Carolina to take advantage of the incentives, knowing, however, that eventually we’d have to stand on our own two feet.”

But Linamar is also a bellwether for an economic recovery that continues to limp along, with little future “stimulus” in sight.

The company’s North Carolina facility, which makes key engine, transmission and driveline components for industrial machinery, feeds Caterpillar and Volvo.  Demand from those companies only follows demand from builders and construction firms, Jarrell said.  That demand continues to be “a little slower than anticipated out of the gate.”

The latest Congressional Budget Office projections, released last week, underscore the concern:

  • Unemployment is expected to hover around 8 percent through the next year, which would be the sixth consecutive year with unemployment above 7.5 percent of the labor force -- the longest such period in 70 years.
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) growth is projected to “remain below its potential” through the end of Obama’s second term, in 2017.  “That subdued economic growth will limit businesses’ need to hire additional workers, thereby causing the unemployment rate to stay near 8 percent this year,” the CBO projects.

Obama said on Tuesday that policy makers must "reignite" the engine of job growth to boost the middle class as a top priority.

He will highlight his plan for that, including a call for universal access to pre-school education, during a stop in Atlanta on Thursday.  He then visits Chicago on Friday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


State of the Union 2013: What to Expect From President Obama’s Speech

Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In contrast to his inaugural address, President Obama’s State of the Union speech will focus primarily on jobs and the economy, outlining new initiatives on manufacturing, education, clean energy and infrastructure.

He will elaborate on the big themes of the inaugural — immigration, gun violence and climate change — but a top White House official said the State of the Union will have a “heavy economic focus,” specifically on “the middle class as the driver of economic growth.”

To drive home the point that the president sees jobs and the economy as his number one priority, the president’s travel after the speech will be used to promote his new economic initiatives.

The new initiatives will entail new federal spending, but the spending will be off-set by reductions elsewhere in the federal budget. In terms of cost, these initiatives will be relatively modest:  the days of big economic stimulus programs are over.

The president will use his speech to warn Congress to avoid automatic spending cuts — the dreaded “sequester” — scheduled to go into effect on March 1.  The across-the-board cuts, the president will warn, would jeopardize the economic recovery and endanger national security.

But the president will also make what the official called “a progressive case for deficit reduction” — warning that if entitlement spending is not brought under control it will crowd out spending on other social programs that progressives hold dear.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Despite Hints of Economic Recovery, Optimism’s Scarce for 2013

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With three-quarters of Americans saying the economy’s still in a recession, optimism both about personal and global prospects in the year ahead are at their lowest in 11 years. Nonetheless, unlike the past three years, a majority at least says an economic recovery’s begun.  

Optimism continues to trump pessimism in personal outlook: Fifty-three percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll are more hopeful than fearful about what 2013 holds in store for them personally.  Fewer -- 40 percent -- are more hopeful than fearful about the world’s prospects.

Both are down sharply, by 32 and 29 percentage points, respectively, from their highs in December 2003, to their lowest level in more than a decade.  The 56 percent who express fearfulness about the global outlook ties the high right before 2003, with war in Iraq imminent.

PARTISANSHIP: Political allegiances factor heavily into these views. Seventy-five percent of Democrats express personal optimism, matching its level after the 2008 elections, and their global optimism is just 6 points lower, now 61 percent. 

Among Republicans, a second consecutive loss is a lot to bear: Their personal and global optimism are nearly half their level vs. four years ago (25 vs. 44 percent, and 18 vs. 39 percent, respectively).

That mirrors trends after the 2004 election, when George W. Bush won his second term.  Personal optimism for the next year among Democrats dropped by 29 points from the previous year, and global optimism by 20 points, while optimism among Republicans was virtually unchanged.

Compared to 2008, hopefulness among independents has dropped by 12 and 10 points, respectively.  But party’s at play there also; Democratic-leaning independents are nearly identical in hopefulness to Democrats, while Republican-leaning independents look much like Republicans.

ECONOMY and THE CLIFF: Despite easing unemployment, Americans continue to feel the effects of the longest, deepest downturn since the Great Depression.  Seventy-six percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, think that the country still is in a recession, unchanged since April.

But the economy’s trajectory also matters.  On that, more than half -- 53 percent -- say that in their personal experience the nation’s economy has started to recover.  While that’s not significantly different than its level this March, it’s up by 17 points in the last year.

The increase is broadly based, occurring in nearly every group, albeit only up 10 points to 35 percent among Republicans (compared with a 25-point increase to 72 percent among Democrats) and by a slight seven points among conservatives, to 34 percent.

Yet even among those who say the recovery is underway, three-quarters say it’s a weak one.

While heavily influenced by partisanship, these perceptions still factor into expectations for the year ahead.  Personal and global optimism are 26 to 47 points higher among those who say the recession is over or the recovery has begun, compared with those who disagree.

The potential impacts of not reaching an agreement on the fiscal cliff weigh heavily on Americans as well: Three-quarters or more are concerned about its effects on the national economy, their personal finances, the government’s operations and the U.S. military.  And those who are very worried about these consequences are 17 to 22 points less optimistic about their personal outlook compared with those who are less worried.

See a PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Majority of Americans Skeptical a Deal Will Be Reached on ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Poll Finds

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Americans don’t trust Republicans and Democrats to get along, it seems.

A new poll from the Pew Research Center finds that 51 percent of Americans don’t believe a deal will reached between President Obama and Republicans in Congress regarding the so-called “fiscal cliff,” the tax increases and spending cuts that will go into effect if there is no bargain. The poll found that 38 percent believe a deal will be reached, while 11 percent responded that they don’t know.

Republicans are more skeptical than Democrats, according to the poll. Among the 51 percent who doubt an agreement will be reached by the Jan. 1 deadline, 66 percent were Republicans, while only 40 percent were Democrats. And among those who believe that there will be a deal, just 25 percent were Republicans and 47 were Democrats.

Broadly speaking, the poll showed a general concern over the effects of the cliff. Sixty-eight percent of Americans said that they believe that going over the cliff will have a major effect on the U.S. economy, and 44 percent said that they believe it will have a major effect on their own personal finances.

The fiscal cliff is a combination of expiring tax breaks plus budget cuts that are set to take effect on Jan. 2, 2013.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Takes Lead on Economy; White Men Are the Movers

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney has advanced to a slight lead over Barack Obama in trust to handle the economy, and Obama has slipped beneath a clear majority in who better understands the public’s economic problems – two key metrics of the 2012 presidential race.

These trends in the latest ABC News/Washington Post daily tracking poll aren’t strong enough to change current preferences, nor is the 2-1 view that Obama won Monday night’s final debate. But they’re among the underlying dynamics making the race seem closer now than a month ago.

See PDF with full results and charts HERE.

The candidates remain essentially tied, with 49 percent of likely voters for Romney, 48 percent for Obama in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. That includes vast and sharpening gaps among some groups, with highs for both candidates among core supporters.
One example is white men, in particular those who lack a college degree; almost all of the recent shifts in trust on the economy and perceived economic empathy have occurred in this group. Romney’s support among white men is its highest of the campaign, a 2-1 margin, 65-32 percent. That compares with 57-41 percent, McCain-Obama, in the 2008 exit poll.
While it’s closer among white women, 53-44 percent, Romney-Obama, that very broad support among white men lifts Romney to a new high among whites overall, 59 percent. And it expands the gender gap to a new high as well: A 17-point lead for Romney among men, 57-40 percent, compared with a 15-point advantage for Obama among women, 56-41 percent.
And it’s men, compared to four years ago, who are making it close. Obama beat John McCain among women in 2008 by 13 points, similar to his margin over Romney today. But McCain only tied Obama among men, a far cry from Romney’s large advantage in this group now.
Obama pushes back among other groups. One example is Hispanics, whom Obama described as crucial to his re-election in a Des Moines Register interview released Wednesday. While they make up a small share of the national electorate in this survey, eight percent (about the same as in 2008), Obama is supported by 75 percent of Hispanics – a new high this season, and more than his 67 percent in the 2008 exit poll. They indeed could be critical in close states, or in those with larger concentrations of Hispanic voters.
Obama, additionally, is winning a near-unanimous 95-percent support from blacks, and 79 percent of non-whites overall, matching his high of the 2012 campaign. Non-whites account for 24 percent of likely voters in this survey – very close to their 2008 turnout, 26 percent.
THE ECONOMY – While preferences among groups – and their turnout – will determine the outcome, concerns about the economy are driving this contest, and there Romney has made gradual progress. Likely voters now pick him over Obama by 50-44 percent as the candidate they trust to do a better job handling the economy, a slight but marginally significant lead for Romney for the first time since late August.

As noted, that shift has occurred almost entirely among white men: They favor Romney over Obama on the economy by a 35-point margin now (65-30 percent), compared with 19 points in mid-October (57-38 percent). There’s been essentially no change in the same period among white women (+14 points for Romney in trust to handle the economy) or among all non-whites (+51 points for Obama).
While Obama never has had a clear lead overall in trust to handle the economy, he’s usually prevailed in another measure, which candidate better understands the economic problems of ordinary Americans. On this, however, he’s gone from a nine-point advantage (51-42 percent) in mid-October to 50-45 percent now – a five-point differential that is not statistically significant given this survey’s margin of sampling error. As with trust to handle the economy, Obama hasn’t scored this weakly relative to Romney on economic empathy since late August, just before the party conventions.
The shift on empathy, as with trust on the economy, has occurred almost exclusively among white men, moving from a non-significant eight-point tilt to Romney on this question in mid-October to a 26-point margin now. Views among white women and non-whites on economic empathy, again, are essentially unchanged.
Drilling further, these shifts, in both cases, have occurred disproportionately among a specific group of white men -- those who lack a college degree. They expressed greater trust in Romney to handle the economy by 24 points in mid-October, but do so by a 47-point margin now. And on economic empathy the margin for Romney among less-educated white men has moved from 13 points in mid-October to 40 points now.

DEBATE THIS – These trends may mitigate whatever benefit Obama sought to take from the third and final presidential debate – given, especially, the apparent lasting benefit to Romney of his performance in the first debate.
Using single-night survey results from last night, likely voters by 48-24 percent say Obama won the third debate. Nonetheless, they also say by a 21-point margin, 37-16 percent, that as a result of all three debates together, their opinion of Romney has gotten better rather than worse. Obama gets just a split decision on the same better/worse question, 16 percent vs. 18 percent. (The rest say their opinions didn’t change.)

PERFORMANCE and ENTHUSIASM – Obama’s overall job approval rating among likely voters stands at 50 percent, a challenging number albeit not one that precludes re-election. Another result, though, indicates his difficulties compared with four years ago: At his apex in 2008, 71 percent of his supporters said they were “very” enthusiastic about his candidacy. It’s 60 percent now, essentially the same as Romney’s strong enthusiasm (which, as noted Tuesday, well surpasses John McCain’s in ’08.)
These measures return the discussion to turnout, and that’s not just a question for Election Day. Seven percent of likely voters say in fact they’ve already voted, and they divide almost precisely evenly between Obama and Romney; an additional 28 percent say they’re going to vote early, but haven’t yet. The race among early voters and Election Day voters alike is close – within the margin of sampling error in both cases – raising the question of whether Obama, who far outpaced McCain among early voters in 2008, can replicate the feat this time.
Partisan divisions in this survey, Democrats-Republicans-independents, are 34-30-32 percent among likely voters. Partisan divisions in the 2008 exit poll were 39-32-29 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Debate Ahead, Romney Gains on Int’l Affairs, Continues to Lag on Economic Priorities

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney carries newfound competitiveness in trust to handle international issues into the final presidential debate, combined with his highest personal popularity of the 2012 campaign. But continued weakness in his perceived economic priorities is keeping the race a close one.

Among other shifts, after last week’s second debate, which included a spirited exchange on women in the workplace, the contest now has its largest gender gap of the season -- a 14-point lead for Barack Obama among women, vs. a 12-point advantage for Romney among men.

The result, as in previous ABC News/Washington Post polls since late summer, is essentially a dead heat between the candidates overall. In the first of what will be daily ABC/Post tracking polls for the rest of the contest, 49 percent of likely voters back Obama, 48 percent Romney.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

With Monday night’s debate focused on foreign policy, the poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds Romney virtually tied with Obama in trust to handle international affairs (49-46 percent, Obama-Romney) and terrorism (47-46 percent), as well as to serve as commander-in-chief of the armed services (48-45 percent). That reflects a shift in Romney’s favor; Obama led on terrorism by 11 points as recently as Sept. 29, and on international affairs by seven points earlier this month.

In another milestone for Romney, 50 percent of likely voters express a favorable opinion of him overall, while 47 percent see him unfavorably -- his highest popularity score of the season, and one of the rare times he’s been numerically above water in this measure. His personal popularity now roughly matches Obama’s 52-46 percent favorable-unfavorable.

While more pick Obama as the winner of the second debate, these advances for Romney appear to reflect a carryover effect of his first debate performance. Overall, 37 percent of likely voters say their opinion of Romney has improved as a result of the two debates, double the 19 percent who think less of him. Obama gets just an even split, 15 percent to 18 percent, better-worse. (The rest say the debates haven’t changed their views of the candidates -- 65 percent in Obama’s case, 43 percent in Romney’s).

Still, Obama clawed back some ground in the second debate -- he’s seen as having won it by 48-29 percent, compared with Romney’s 71-17 percent in the first debate. And the number of likely voters with a better opinion of Obama as a result of the two debates has advanced from eight percent after the first debate to, as noted, 15 percent after the second. Those results underscore what’s at stake in the candidate’s last face-off Monday night.

CHALLENGES – While Romney shows momentum on some underlying attributes, he also still faces some fundamental challenges. Obama is benefitting from slightly improving economic attitudes; as many likely voters now say the economy is improving as say it’s worsening, 37 percent vs. 36 percent, numerically positive for the first time since spring in comparable data.

Most strikingly, a majority continues to think Romney, if elected, would favor the wealthy rather than the middle class, by 54-33 percent. Obama, by contrast, consistently has been seen by an overwhelming majority, now 66-15 percent, as having done more to favor the middle class than the wealthy.

Overcoming this perception may be Romney’s single biggest challenge ahead; one complication in his addressing it is Obama’s advantage in two other areas: Better understanding the economic problems of average Americans, on which the president leads Romney by seven points; and honesty and trustworthiness, on which Obama’s up by nine.

ISSUES and APPROVAL – Obama has an unusual advantage on another issue, again likely reflecting skepticism about Romney’s economic priorities: In trust to handle taxes, typically a better issue for Republican candidates, Obama leads by 11 percentage points, 53-42 percent -- the president’s biggest lead on taxes all season.

Obama also is competitive with Romney in trust to handle the deficit, (49-45 percent, Romney-Obama); that’s tightened from a wide Romney advantage in the spring and summer, perhaps reflecting some impact from Obama’s continued criticisms of Romney’s budget numbers. Obama, moreover, leads by 12 points on handling Medicare and by 13 points in trust to handle women’s issues. Women prefer Obama on women’s issues by a wide 18 points; men, by seven.

On trust to handle the economy -- the election’s top issue and Obama’s greatest vulnerability -- it’s another virtual dead heat, 48-46 percent, Romney-Obama.

Still, Obama’s job approval rating overall is 50 percent among likely voters, a point short of a majority. In historical terms, that can be adequate to win re-election (George W. Bush and, possibly, Harry S. Truman), but certainly not comfortably so.

While there have been shifts under the surface, it’s notable how little overall preferences have changed in this contest: Obama’s support among likely voters has been between 47 and 49 percent steadily since just before the conventions; Romney’s, 46 to 49 percent. And likely voter definitions with different turnout estimates produce essentially identical horse race results.

STATES and GROUPS – As well as close overall, the contest stands at 51-47 percent, Romney-Obama, in the nine battleground states designated by the ABC News Political Unit -- well within the margin of sampling error, and not significantly different from the mid-month 51-46 percent, Obama-Romney, in these same states. But regardless of sampling error, the bigger number now is Romney’s, another indication of the competitiveness he’s showing.

Obama has a little pushback on another metric: The share of his supporters who describe themselves as “very enthusiastic” has advanced to 64 percent, his highest of the season, and matching his level at this time in 2008 (but below his peak that year). Romney’s strong enthusiasm, at 58 percent, is numerically off its peak at mid-month, after the first debate.

Among groups, again perhaps reflecting the second debate, this poll finds a shift in Obama’s direction among college-educated white women. They go for Obama over Romney by 55-42 percent now, vs. a preference for Romney by almost an identical margin, 56-42 percent, in mid-October. Other slight shifts mitigate the overall impact -- Romney’s gained among white men, especially among those who lack a college degree -- but it explains the wider gender gap.

Romney leads by 15 points among whites overall, while Obama comes back with a vast 78-19 percent advantage among non-whites. There’s a hardening at the ideological poles, with Obama and Romney at their highest support of the campaign among liberals and “very” conservatives, respectively (88 percent of liberals for Obama, 89 percent of very conservatives for Romney). The fight’s among moderates, now +16 points for Obama, and somewhat conservatives, +37 for Romney.

There’s also extreme polarization among Democrats and Republicans, with a scant three-point difference between the candidates among independents, 49 percent for Romney, 46 percent for Obama. A slight five-point turnout advantage for Democrats makes the race essentially tied -- and, if nothing breaks open, makes turnout the key to the 2012 race. Turnout’s especially important since a third of likely voters say they plan to vote early -- including five percent who already have.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: Senators Devising Plan to Avoid 'Fiscal Cliff'

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Plans are underway in the U.S. Senate to deal with the political hot potato known as the “fiscal cliff,” a confluence of tax hikes, deep spending cuts and a growing federal deficit that could send the economy into another recession by early 2013.

According to a story in Tuesday's New York Times, a bipartisan group of senators is formulating a three-step process that would avert the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts and automatic spending reductions known as sequestration that would hit the Pentagon particularly hard.  The process would include reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade by changing the tax code, reforming various entitlements and trimming federal programs.

If that idea flops, the senators have Plan Two, which involves changes to Social Security, more extensive spending cuts and the addition of $2 trillion of revenue through lower tax rates that eliminate or trim deductions and credits.

The final alternative, which is the least desirable, is simply delaying the expiring tax cuts and upcoming spending reductions to give lawmakers more time to arrive at a plan that has wide partisan support.

Much depends on the outcome of the election.  The Republican-controlled House is opposed to ending tax cuts for the nation’s 2 percent of wage earners while Democrats are insistent that no deal is possible unless the wealthy return to the tax rates of the Clinton administration.

Despite their differences, no one wants nearly 90 percent of working Americans to pay more taxes amid draconian spending reductions that would certainly result in the second recession of the past five years.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ryan Says Obama Is ‘Not a Bad Guy,’ But ‘Bad at Creating Jobs’

Alex Wong/Getty Images(SPARKS, Nev.) -- Traditionally the No. 2 on a presidential ticket is the attack dog, and Paul Ryan in recent days has been going after the president pretty hard. But Friday the GOP vice presidential candidate lodged his attack beginning with a compliment.

“You know the president gave a big speech last night, well just hear me out. President Obama is not a bad guy,” Ryan said over cheers of “yes he is” from the crowd. “No, President Obama is not a bad guy. He’s good at giving great speeches, he’s just really bad at creating jobs.”

Ryan then continued his attack: “Here’s the problem, when you think that the road to success and prosperity is more borrowing, more spending, more taxing, more regulating, a government-centered society with a government-run economy, these are the kinds of results we will get and if we want the next four years to be any different than the last four years, we need a new president.”

It’s a line of attack Mitt Romney has also been using because of the president’s favorability ratings. The message the GOP ticket wants to get across is that the president is nice, but not competent, and to stay away from some of the more personal attacks they are afraid may backfire with the personally popular president. Obama has higher favorability ratings than Romney, but in an ABC News/Washington Post poll released this week the president’s number is seven points lower from his recent peak in April. Just 47 percent of registered voters see Obama favorably overall, while 49 percent rate him unfavorably. Forty percent of registered voters see Romney favorably, while 47 percent view the GOP presidential nominee unfavorably.

“The president can give lots of speeches. He can say a lot of beautiful things. But he can’t tell you that we are better off,” Ryan said in the parking lot of a Peterbilt truck parts and equipment company.

With the backdrop of the rugged Nevada desert, Ryan also mentioned the tepid job numbers released Friday morning.The report, worse than expected, showed that the economy created 96,000 jobs in August, below economist expectations of 125,000. The unemployment rate was down 8.1 percent, but it showed nearly 400,000 people had stopped looking.

The House budget chairman called the report “disappointing news.”

“We learned today that for every person that got a job, nearly four people stopped looking for a job,” Ryan said to a crowd of about 1,400. “They gave up. We can’t keep doing this. Our economy needs to create just 150,000 jobs every month just to keep up with the growth of our population. Friends, this is not an economic recovery, this is nowhere close to an economic recovery.”

Ryan tailored his remarks to this battleground state, telling voters they have a “special responsibility” and that the rest of the country is “depending” on Nevadans.

Ryan also mentioned the home foreclosure crisis that has rocked Nevada, as well as the Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who hails from this state.

“The president gave us this big stimulus package right when he got elected,” Ryan said. "He said when we pass the stimulus, unemployment will never get above eight percent. We just learned today that it’s been over eight percent for over 43 months. In Nevada, its 12 percent. Look at the foreclosure rate. Look at the unemployment rate.”

He then hit the United State Senate for not passing a budget, name-checking the state’s senator.

“Hey, you guys heard of this guy named Reid in the Senate?” Ryan asked sarcastically to boos. “So I take it as a yes. They haven’t bothered to pass a budget in three years. They have a law that says every year, April 15 -- April 15th is tax day for Americans, it’s budget day for Congress.  They’ve ignored it for three years.  Friends, this is not, this is not governing. This is kicking the can.”

From Nevada, Ryan heads to California to begin a few days of fundraising on the West coast.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Calls Obama Speech ‘Disappointing’

Melina Mara/The Washington Post(ORANGE CITY, Iowa) -- In his first public campaign event in five days, Mitt Romney gave a scathing review of President Obama’s convention speech, referring to it as “extraordinarily, surprisingly disappointing.”

“I was surprised by his address because I expected him to confront the major challenges of the last four years, which is an economy which has not produced the jobs that the American people need,” said Romney, who said that he had read, but didn’t watch, Obama’s speech last night.

“I expected him to talk about 23 million people, or at least to talk about the unemployed in America. I expected him to talk about the number of families having a hard time making ends meet. The number of middle income families who have seen the cost of health care insurance go up, the cost of food go up, the cost of gasoline go up, even as their incomes have gone down, I expected him to talk about these things,” said Romney.

“No. Instead it was a whole series of new promises that he ultimately won’t be able to keep because the policies he believes in and the direction he’s pulling will not make America stronger. If President Obama were reelected we would have four more years of the last four years and the American people are going to say no to that.”

“Now you might have expected the president of the United States to lay out a plan of what he would do to get the economy going again, and get people working again and he didn’t do that last night,” Romney continued. “Again, that was surprising to me. I laid out the things that I’m going to do to get this economy going.”

Romney, speaking in a state with one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, said that while he’s "trying to look beyond” the bad news from Friday morning’s jobs report, it was still “simply unimaginable.”

“The president said that by this time we’d be at 5.4 percent unemployment … instead, we’re at about eight percent. And you know the difference that that makes in how many people would be working in America? Nine million people. Had he been able to keep his promise, had his, had his policies worked as he thought they would, there’d be nine million more Americans working,” said Romney.

Romney heads next to the swing state of New Hampshire, where Obama just wrapped up a campaign even of his own.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio