President Biden said more steps must be taken to stop soaring inflation after a Labor Department report showed mixed results for the job market.
He acknowledged the crunch inflation has put on Americans and called on Republicans to help solve the problem.
“There’s no question that inflation and high prices are a challenge for families across the country and fighting inflation is a top priority for me,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “There’s more work to do. I encourage Congressional Republicans to join us in our efforts to lower prices for families across the country by making more in America, strengthening our supply chains, and cutting the energy and prescription drug costs.”
Republicans have blamed Mr. Biden’s policies — namely pumping another $1.9 trillion of COVID-19 aid into the economy last year — for fueling inflation.
Mr. Biden blamed the rising costs on Russia’s war on Ukraine, although prices had increased steadily before the Feb. 24 invasion.
The report, released Friday, concluded the U.S. economy added 428,000 jobs in April, marking the 12th straight month of job growth above 400,000. It also showed that the unemployment rate remained at 3.6%, the lowest level in nearly 50 years.
“Our plans and policies have produced the strongest job creation economy in modern times,” Mr. Biden said. “The unemployment rate now stands at 3.6% — the fastest decline in unemployment to start a President’s term ever recorded.”
Although the economy created more than the 391,000 jobs Wall Street analysts had forecasted, it is roughly the same number as March, suggesting that America’s economic recovery still has a way to go.
However, average hourly earnings for workers climbed by 0.3% in April compared to a month earlier. It also grew at a slower pace than the 0.5% recorded in March.
The stifled wage growth shows that even if workers are participating in the economy, it has not translated into prosperity for the working and middle classes.
Rising prices, fueled by record level inflation, erased much of U.S. workers’ wage gains. Costs for food, housing, and gasoline have pushed inflation to the highest level in 40 years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said last month.
Consumer prices jumped 8.5% in March, the fastest inflation rate since 1981 and wiping out most wage increases.