GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (AP) — President Barack Obama said Friday the latest employment report shows that the economy is not creating jobs "as fast as we want," but he pledged that the economy will improve.
"We will come back stronger. We do have better days ahead," Obama said at a Honeywell plant where the company has taken steps to hire veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The president was responding to the government's jobs report for May, which showed that only 69,000 jobs were added during the month. That was the fewest in a year, as the unemployment rate increased to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent in April.
Obama, in a tight re-election campaign against Republican Mitt Romney, said the economy still faces a number of challenges, including Europe's debt crisis and higher gas prices, which have hurt families.
"The economy still isn't where it needs to be," Obama said.
Romney told CNBC that Obama's economic policies had not worked and the new report was a "harsh indictment" of how the Democrat incumbent has steered the economy.
While acknowledging the political realities of an election year, Obama said the November election was no reason for inaction in Washington.
"There's no excuse for it, not when there are so many people out there looking for work," he said.
He cited providing more money for states and local governments to help avert layoffs of teachers and first responder layoffs, saying the dollars could "serve as a buffer in case the situation in Europe gets any worse."
Obama wants Congress to support incentives to hire veterans as police officers and firefighters. He also was taking action to help service members with manufacturing and high-demand skills receive civilian credentials and licenses.
The veterans "job corps" is part of Obama's to-do list to spur job creation. It features a number of economic initiatives he has pushed before to help manufacturers, homeowners and veterans.
Obama was holding fundraisers later in the day in Minneapolis and in his hometown of Chicago, where he was staying overnight in his own home.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)