RICHMOND (WWBT) - The White House is touting a new jobs report that shows job creation on the upswing. New numbers show the U.S. added more than 240,000 jobs in January. That jump was enough to reduce the unemployment rate two tenths of a percent.
Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones believes the turnaround is a direct result of President Barack Obama's policies.
Detractors of the president argue the numbers are a bit more complex than they look.
Mayor Jones is seeing it everywhere he turns.
"We were able to attract and retain about 1,000 jobs last year," he said.
A revitalized economy is opening up opportunities Jones said is hard to ignore.
"The growth has begun and we are beginning to see a steady increase in the jobs numbers," he noted.
The lack of jobs- have been a drag on the Obama presidency. With signs of improvement, The Obama team sent high profile local supporters like Mayor Jones out armed with this graphic that shows a jobs comeback.
Jones argues that is at least in part because of Barack Obama.
"The economy is cyclical," he said. "But policy has something to do with it; leadership has something to do with it."
But the numbers don't reveal the whole story, claims Audrey Jackson of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity.
"This number may also reflect the folks who are no longer applying for unemployment," she said. "They have given up."
Jackson claims the president should have just gotten out of the way.
"Business owners, they know how to create jobs better than the federal government does," she said.
Conservatives believe short term government fixes don't provide the long term sustainability private companies offer.
It is a fundamental difference between the two sides.
"The free market is a wonderful thing," said Jones. "But, there has to be some intentionality and some concern for those people who need the services of government."
The best way to create jobs- the key issue driving 2012.
And the stock market reacted with pleasure to the new jobs numbers. The Dow closed at its highest level since before the 2008 financial crisis.