‘America is back to work’ – Biden touts low unemployment rate after November jobs report underperforms

The 210,000 jobs added in November is fewer than what analysts had predicted

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Friday 03 December 2021 16:38 GMT
'America is back': Biden touts fall in unemployment

President Joe Biden said falling unemployment rates and strong trends of new job creation over his first 10 months in office are evidence that the US economy is “markedly stronger” than it was at this point last year.

Earlier in the day, the US bureau of labour statistics released data showing that the US added 210,000 non-farming jobs to the economy last month, dropping the unemployment rate to 4.2 percent – a full two percentage points lower than when Mr Biden was sworn in.

Speaking from the White House state dining room on Friday, Mr Biden called the drop “incredible news”.

“At this point in the year, we’re looking at the sharpest one-year decline in unemployment ever,” he said. “Simply put, American is back to work and our jobs recovery is going very strong”.

Mr Biden said the “historic drop” includes “dramatic improvements” for groups with historically higher unemployment rates, such as Black and Hispanic Americans, and boasted that wages have risen for “hard-working Americans” who’ve often been ignored or left out of past economic recoveries.

“Workers in transportation and warehouses have seen their wages go up approximately 10 percent this year. Workers in hotels and restaurants have seen their wages go up to 13 percent this year, and thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we’ve delivered significant tax cuts to families raising children,” he said, adding that the result is that most Americans “have more in their pockets today than they did each month since we’ve been in office than they did last year”, even after accounting for inflation.

“In fact, we’re the only leading economy in the world where household income and the economy as a whole are stronger than they were before the pandemic,” he said.

The BLS announcement that the US economy added 210,000 new jobs last month disappointed most analysts, many of whom had predicted a jobs growth number closer to half a million jobs added in November.

But Mr Biden noted that BLS officials had revised previous jobs reports for September and October 2021 to reflect that 82,000 more jobs had been added to the economy those months than previously reported.

“We’ve averaged nearly 400,000 new jobs a month over the last three months,” he said, calling the quarterly performance “a solid pace”.

“All told, in the first 10 full months of my administration the economy created 6 million jobs, a record for a new president. This is a significant improvement for when I took office in January, a sign that we’re on the right track,” he said. “Because of the extraordinary strides we’ve made, we can look forward to a brighter, happier new year ahead in my view.”

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