"It's not bad. But we should have added over 6 million jobs since December 2007. Instead, we're down 2.6 million jobs," she said. "There's a big disconnect between people who are just happy that job growth was better than their expectations and what the report really says about where the labor market is."
Even so, stocks soared on cue, with the Dow industrials on Friday briefly rising above 15,000 for the first time before falling back a bit to close at 14,974, still a record close.
The jobs report also reflected a recovering housing industry. But not all sectors were up. Manufacturing, for instance, was flat.
While most energy-related sectors may be on the rise and new technological developments are "promising," the benefits to manufacturers will be muted because "U.S. manufacturing has become so much less energy intensive overall in recent years," said Alan Tonelson of the U.S. Business and Industry Council, which represents close to 2,000 mainly family-owned manufacturing companies.Tonelson worries about foreign trade barriers, continued high levels of government spending despite recent cutbacks, and the Fed's continuing efforts to stimulate growth by printing money. "Debt-led growth never ends well," he said. Still, the latest jobs report gave the administration a big dose of good news, even as officials agreed there was still far to go. "The economy has now added private-sector jobs every month for 38 straight months, and a total of 6.8 million jobs," said Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. "It is critical that we remain focused on pursuing policies to speed job creation and expand the middle class as we continue to dig our way out." ___ Follow Tom Raum on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tomraum