With the debt crisis behind him for now, President Obama was back in campaign mode at a fund-raising bash and a birthday celebration in his hometown of Chicago.
Obama, who turned 50 on Thursday, is planning a three-day bus tour this month to talk about his ideas for job creation.
The president is blaming the weak economy on events he says the U.S. can't control -- like the earthquake in Japan and Europe's debt crisis.
Despite talk of the economy heading back into recession, the White House expects things to improve later this year.
"We knew this was going to take time," he said. "When I said, 'Change we can believe in,' I didn't say, 'Change we can believe in tomorrow.'"
Recent economic indicators appear to be painting a different picture.
The government will not release its July jobs numbers until Friday, but a new survey suggests only 114,000 jobs were added -- far less than in June.
While service sector jobs like health care and education grew, construction and manufacturing slipped.
FAA Shut Down
Meanwhile, job cuts surged, with more than 66,000 people out of work -- including thousands of Federal Aviation Administration employees.
FAA workers are currently caught in the middle of a congressional dispute over funding 13 tiny rural -- and often empty -- airports.
"Now this time, everyone wants to play hardball and the hardball hurt us," complained airport worker Tim Rickford.
House Republicans passed a bill to fund the FAA but insisted subsidies to some of those airports be cut, saving taxpayers $16 million a year.
Senate Democrats, however, refused to accept those cuts.
"It's the issue of hostage taking. And that is not fair and that is not right," charged Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
While the government is losing nearly $30 million a day because the FAA can't collect taxes on airline tickets -- Congress has left for summer break.
Appalled at lawmakers' "failure to act" Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urged lawmakers to suspend its recess.
"We are intently interested in assuring that these 74,000 Americans who had jobs get them back," he said. Because they were in essence "thrown out of work by a failure of Congress to act," the obvious solution was for lawmakers to return to Capitol Hill and fix the problem," he said.
If Congress doesn't find a way to re-authorize the funding before lawmakers return to Washington in September, this impasse could cost the government more than a billion dollars.