President Biden touted Friday’s job numbers as a signal that the U.S. is “uniquely well positioned to tackle a range of global economic challenges,” including skyrocketing inflation.
U.S. employers added 372,000 jobs in June, according to government figures released Friday. Unemployment remained at 3.6% for a fourth straight month.
“In the second quarter of this year, we created more jobs than in any quarter under any of my predecessors in the nearly 40 years before the pandemic,” Mr. Biden said. “We have more Americans working in the private sector today than any day during Donald Trump’s Presidency – more people than any time in our history.”
Mr. Biden, who is facing strong political headwinds amid 40-year high inflation and elevated gas prices heading into November’s midterm elections, has struggled to prove to voters that his administration can gain control of the economy.
The president has insisted that his administration has made “incredible progress” on the economy and said the blame for inflation rests squarely with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In his statement on the job numbers Friday, Mr. Biden doubled down on his assertion that his administration is steering the ship to calmer seas.
“This has been the fastest and strongest jobs recovery in American history, and it would not have been possible without the decisive action my administration took last year to fix a broken COVID response, and pass the American Rescue Plan to get our economy back on track,” he said.
Critics have blasted the administration’s domestic spending agenda, including the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package signed into law last March, as a key driver behind inflation.
And Republicans point to “red flags” evident in June’s job report including worker shortages, rising layoffs and empty shelves.
“Small businesses are struggling and American families have been wiping out their savings just to keep up with rising prices in President Biden‘s cruel economy punctuated by slow growth,” said the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady of Texas.
Despite the president’s praise for his administration’s “decisive action,” which he said led to the strong job numbers, he hedged against future expectations warning that “additional growth from this strong position will be slower.”
He said the answer to achieving stable economic growth going forward is for Congress to spend more, doubling down on his pressure on lawmakers to cut a deal on his long-stalled $1.75 trillion social-welfare bill which flopped late last year.
“The best way to achieve that goal is for Congress to pass legislation that lowers costs for families – from prescription drugs to utility costs – while reducing the federal budget deficit, in addition to passing the Bipartisan Innovation Act,” he said.