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Obama, Romney play the latest jobs figures

Sat August 4, 2012 12:01pm

The July jobs report exceeded the expectations of economists, who predicted there would be about 100,000 jobs created.

It also was a vast improvement from recent jobs reports. From April through June, the economy produced an average of 75,000 jobs a month, the weakest three months since August through October 2010.

But the July growth was well below the average 252,000 jobs a month added from December through February.

The economy remains the top issue for voters less than three months before election day.

While the overall race for the White House remains deadlocked, several polls show Romney with an advantage over Obama on economic issues.

A USA Today/Gallup Poll conducted in late July found 50 per cent of Americans said Romney is the candidate who would be better at job creation, with 44 per cent siding with Obama.

Obama sought to shift quickly on Friday from the issue of jobs to taxes. He renewed his call for Congress to extend tax cuts only for families making less than $US250,000 ($A240,000) before they expire at the end of the year.

The president made no mention of his Republican rival during his remarks but took a veiled swipe at Romney, noting that extending tax cuts for families earning under $US250,000 a year would still apply, in part, to the very wealthy. Romney's fortune has been estimated at $US250 million.

"We're saying nobody's income taxes go up on the first $US250,000 of their income, so even somebody who makes more than $250 (thousand) is getting a tax break on their first $US250 (thousand)," Obama said. "You understand? Even somebody who is worth $US200 million."

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