THE LATEST US jobs report released Friday yields two glimmers of hope: one for the national economy and the second for President Barack Obama's re-election bid.
The figures indicate 163,000 new jobs were added in July. That number ends a three-month downturn in hiring and also reflects the best numbers since February of this year.
All the news wasn't positive, however, as the nation's unemployment inched up a tenth to 8.3.
The addition of 163,000 jobs was embraced in economic circles while also sparking a surge in stocks. Positive news in the realm of the economy is a shot-in-the-arm to Obama's campaign, as it is the dominant issue in the presidential race.
He will only have two more months of jobs and economic reports on which to hang his hat.
Mitt Romney backers, meanwhile, are pouring cold water on Friday's figures. They note the economy remains weak, even though the recession was declared dead in June of 2009. Moreover, manufacturing activity dropped for the second straight month.
Consumer confidence rose slightly in July but remains weak. Thus, Democrats and Republicans will paint opposite pictures with that stat.
Even with a nice bump in July job creation, it is difficult for the nation to feel good about the economy. That is born out by Americans spending less and saving more, which only hampers growth.
The November presidential race will be determined by more than the single issue of the economy. But undoubtedly, it will be the one carrying the most weight.
President Obama has had nearly four years to right the nation's economic plight. Those four years have now boiled down to two months.