President Joe Biden on Friday addressed the April jobs report, which fell well below analysts’ expectations, arguing the report is indicative of the long-term nature of the economic recovery, saying he expects improvement to be “a marathon,” rather than a “sprint.”
Many economists expected nearly 1 million jobs to be added to the economy in April, but the total was just 266,000, a significant slowdown in growth.
PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks about the April jobs report in the East Room of the White House in Washington on May 7, 2021.
President Joe Biden speaks about the April jobs report in the East Room of the White House in W…Read More
“You might think that we should be disappointed, but when we passed the American Rescue Plan, I want to remind everybody, it was designed to help us over the course of a year — not 60 days, a year,” Biden said. “We never thought that after the first 50 or 60 days, everything would be fine.”
Biden noted that some provisions, like aid to state and local governments, and funding for restaurants, are rolling out now, and that the effect of those programs on the economy aren’t being felt yet. The point is likely to fuel Republican arguments that no more government spending should be approved until the effects of the last package can be understood. Biden has spent much of this week pitching his nearly-$4 trillion jobs and infrastructure plans across the country.
Biden was also blunt Friday in addressing a major question raised by the jobs report: Do generous unemployment benefits have a major effect on how many workers are willing to rejoin the labor market?
“No, nothing measurable,” Biden said.
Biden touted the success of his administration’s economic recovery, citing the 1.5 million new jobs that had been created during his time in office. Biden also defended his massive COVID-19 relief passage that was signed into law in early March which provided $1.9 trillion in funding.
“Some critics said that we didn’t need the American Rescue Plan, that this economy would just heal itself,” Biden said. “Today’s report just underscores, in my view, how vital the actions we’re taking are — checks to people who are hurting, support for small businesses, for child care and school reopening, support to help families put food on the table.”
MORE: Unemployment rate falls to 6% in March, employers add 916,000 jobs
Republicans on Capitol Hill have pinned blame for slow job growth on Biden’s COVID-19 relief benefits, including an additional $300 per week in unemployment, for disincentivizing workers from reentering the labor force.
“We have flooded the zone with checks that I’m sure everybody loves to get, and also enhanced unemployment,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday during an event in his home state of Kentucky. “And what I hear from businesspeople, hospitals, educators, everybody across the state all week is, regretfully, it’s actually more lucrative for many Kentuckians and Americans to not work than work.”