How to prove it: 342,000 people left the workforce in April, according to the Department of Labor report. The portion of working-age people participating in the work force -- 63.6 percent -- hasn't been this low since 1981. Gallup finds that 68 percent of Americans personally know someone who's been laid off.
Claim: Mitt Romney is totally clueless about the economy.
How to prove it: Romney responded to the jobs report, "We should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs created per month." But, as The New York Times' Peter Baker explains, the economy has only added that many jobs in a single month five times in the last 50 years. Only three presidents saw such a jump -- and one of them was Jimmy Carter, who saw it twice in his single term in office. Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Obama each saw a 500,000 job gain once. Plus, Romney said "anything over 4 percent (unemployment) is not cause for celebration." The lowest unemployment rate in the last 10 years, NBC News' Garrett Haake points out, was 4.4 percent in 2007.
Claim: No, it's the Obama administration that's totally clueless about the economy.
How to prove it: Yeah, well, Vice President Joe Biden said in 2010 that the economy would start adding 500,000 jobs a month "sometime in the next couple months," Baker explains. His revision wasn't much better: "I’m here to tell you, sometime in the next couple of months, we’re going to be creating between 250,000 jobs a month and 500,000 jobs a month." Since Obama's one half-a-million jobs blip, the economy has only added 250,000 or more in a month three times. And in February, Obama's Council of Economic Advisers predicted 2 million jobs would be created this year. That month had a surprisingly strong jobs report -- the outlook doesn't look so glowing now.
Claim: Jobs numbers look worse than they are because local government keeps laying people off. The private sector's doing fine.
How to prove it: April's jobs report pushed Obama's private jobs record into the positive territory for his first term, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports. There are now 35,000 more private-sector jobs than when Obama was sworn in, and private-sector jobs have increased for 26 straight months. His record is dragged down by the fact that there are 607,000 fewer government jobs than when he took office. Government jobs were flat in April, dropped by 1,000 in March.
Claim: The economy isn't amazing, but it's doing better than it looks.
How to prove it: Jobs numbers for the last two months were revised upwards: to 259,000 in February and 154,000 in March. Consumer spending is up from a year ago, Gallup finds. Most adults say they're spending more. Gallup's job creation index is approaching a four-year high: " Net new hiring is now at its best level since July 2008," the pollster says.
Claim: People are spending more money because stuff is more expensive even though their wages haven't grown.