Last year a record number of new manufacturing jobs were created. Will this year bring another record? Well, any new manufacturing job is created either within an existing company or by the start-up of a new company. Within existing firms, new jobs have been created this year at well below last years record pace. At the same time, there is considerable evidence that the number of new companies starting up will be no higher this year than it was last year and there is no reason to think that the new companies starting up this year will create more jobs per company than did last year's start-ups. So clearly, the number of new jobs created this year will fall short of last years record.
In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following ?
【选项】The first provides evidence in support of the main conclusion of the argument; the second is a claim that the argument challenges.