The White House on Friday framed the March jobs report, which showed the fewest job gains in nine months but also a downtick in the unemployment rate, as proof the economy is “continuing to recover.”

According to the Labor Department, the economy added 88,000 jobs in March, well short of the roughly 190,000 jobs economists had predicted. However, the unemployment rate fell to 7.6 percent — the lowest such figure in four years.

“While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” Alan Krueger, President Obama’s chief economist, said.

Administration officials also blamed across-the-board budget cuts for the lackluster job numbers.

“It is important to bear in mind that the March household and payroll surveys are the first monthly surveys to look at employment since the beginning of sequestration,” Kreuger said. “While the recovery was gaining traction before sequestration took effect, these arbitrary and unnecessary cuts to government services will be a headwind in the months to come, and will cut key investments in the nation’s future competitiveness.”

Critics have accused Obama of exaggerating the impact of the cuts for political gain. And the public has mostly responded to the spending reductions with a collective shrug.