(NBC) - As the latest news on employment numbers broke President Obama tried positive spin.
"Our economy created 130,000 private sector jobs in April," he noted. "The unemployment rate ticked down again."
Still, 15,000 government jobs were lost, and hiring wasn't as robust as many had hoped it would be.
Mitt Romney focused on the downside.
"Only 115,000 net new jobs were created. That was well beneath what it was expected to be.
It should have been in the hundreds of thousands but it wasn't," Romney said.
The unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point to 8.1 not because more people got hired, but because more Americans gave up looking for jobs.
They're not counted.
Others retired, and some economists see solid job gains just ahead.
"It wouldn't be at all surprising if unemployment were definitively below 8% by the end of the year," predicts Moody Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi.
A close race for the White House could be decided by a tenth-of-a-point change in the jobs number.