WASHINGTON (AP) -- Today's jobs numbers are seen as an indication that the U.S. economy might be resilient enough to pull out of a midyear slump and grow modestly as the rest of the world slows down.
The numbers are providing campaign fodder for both President Barack Obama -- who points to the 163,000 new jobs in July -- and for Mitt Romney, who highlights the uptick in the jobless rate from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent.
Scott Brown, the chief economist of the investment firm Raymond James, says the numbers are "not especially weak" but "not especially strong."
Investors, though, focused on the positive -- sending stocks to some big gains. The Dow finished more than 200 points higher.
Economist Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics says today's numbers should "ease fears that the U.S. economy is following Europe into recession."
But if the job picture keeps improving, it could make it less likely that the Fed will act to stimulate the economy at its next meeting in September.