President Joe Biden hailed May’s tepid jobs report as progress and touted his administration’s economic achievements during a Friday speech.
The jobs report, which was released just hours before Biden spoke, fell slightly short of expectations but was not nearly as disappointing as the month before. The economy added 559,000 new jobs, short of forecasters’ predictions of 650,000. The unemployment rate dipped from 6.1% down to 5.8%, which was slightly better than expected.
“Today, we received great news for our economy and our recovery,” Biden said of the Friday report.
He pointed out the total amount of jobs that have been added to the economy since his inauguration and drew parallels to his predecessors, although the enormous amount of job growth came at a unique time when the United States was just beginning to emerge from high levels of unemployment due to the pandemic.
“We have now created over 2 million jobs in total since I took office, more jobs than have ever been created in the first four months of any presidency in modern history,” Biden said during the Delaware speech. “Triple the rate of my predecessor, eight times the rate of President Reagan.”
While Biden was upbeat about the report, economists were more muted in their responses to the news. Nick Bunker, who leads North American economic research at the Indeed Hiring Lab, said that while it was great to see continuing job growth, it “would have been better to see a larger acceleration.”
“Adding over a half-million jobs in one month is a solid pace of growth,” he said. “But we will need to keep up this tempo for quite some time to get back to a semblance of the pre-pandemic labor market.”
Biden went on to hail the number of people who have been given COVID-19 shots during his time in office. At least 52% of people in America are now fully vaccinated. That number is far higher among the elderly, with 86% of those 65 or older having a least one shot and three-fourths who are fully inoculated.
The pace of vaccinations has caused federal, state, and local governments to ease restrictions for businesses, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last month that those who are vaccinated can go without masks indoors and outdoors.
“In short, this is progress, historic progress, progress that is pulling our economy out of the worst crisis there has been in 100 years,” Biden said, adding that it’s “testament” to the administration’s new economic strategy.
When Biden took office, the economy “was in a tailspin,” he said, pointing out the number of people filing for unemployment weekly in January. Biden drew attention to Thursday’s jobless claims report, which was positive.
The Labor Department said on Thursday that jobless claims dropped below 400,000 last week for the first time since the start of the health crisis. Some 385,000 people filed for unemployment, slightly beating economists’ predictions of 390,000.
Source: Washington Examiner : Biden puts positive spin on lukewarm jobs report in Delaware speech