Jobs Report Shows Progress Better than Expected

The administration welcomed figures showing a significant slowing of job losses as President Barack Obama visited a Pennsylvania metal works plant Friday and visited with hard-hat workers.

At the White House, press secretary Robert Gibbs said new statistics showing a relatively moderate shedding of 11,000 jobs last month indicate the economy is "getting the right trend going in hiring." But he also said that even that loss was unacceptable, telling reporters the nation must "get back to an economy that is not just growing, but is creating jobs."

Friday's surprisingly good unemployment numbers injected a new dynamic into the debate about jobs on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are leaning toward crafting a substantial jobs bill before the end of the year.

Congressional Democrats, many of whom face tough reelections next year, are looking to a bill that could include investing in infrastructure, aiding states and cities, and bolstering small business loans. The White House, meanwhile, has been pushing for smaller, more targeted action, given concerns about the soaring federal deficit.