updated 12/2/2005 11:12:41 AM ET 2005-12-02T16:12:41

President Bush hailed new employment figures on Friday showing that the hurricane-stunted U.S. jobs market has rebounded. “This economy is in good shape,” he declared.

Major Market Indices

Bush, faced with the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, went to the White House Rose Garden to welcome a Labor Department report showing nonfarm payrolls had grown by 215,000 last month, the strongest increase since July.

“Our economy continues to gain strength and momentum,” the president said.

The monthly employment report also showed the jobless rate holding steady at 5 percent. The spring back in employment came after two sluggish months in which job creation was held down by damage from Hurricane Katrina and other devastating storms.

“We have every reason to be optimistic about our economic future,” Bush said.

“When you think about the news that’s come in, the jobs report, the recent report on strong economic growth, low inflation, strong productivity, lower gasoline prices, a strong housing market, increases in consumer confidence and business investment. Our economic horizon is as bright as its been in a long time,” he added.

Bush ignored a shouted question about a military program that planted favorable stories in Iraqi media.

Instead, he focused all of his brief remarks — lasting just 2 1/2 minutes — on the economy.

The U.S. economy is “as bright as it’s been for some time,” Bush said.

“I’ll continue to push for pro-growth economic policy, all aimed at making sure every American can realize the American dream,” he said.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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