Biden says jobs report shows that US is in a good position to combat inflation

The US economy added 390,000 jobs in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Eric Garcia
Friday 03 June 2022 16:37 BST
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President Joe Biden told Americans that the latest jobs numbers show that the United States is in a good position to fight inflation concerns about rising prices persist.

Mr Biden’s words come as the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report on Friday showed that the US economy added 390,000 non-farm payroll jobs in May while the unemployment rate remained static at 3.6 per cent.

“I know that even with today’s good news, a lot of Americans remain anxious, and I understand the feeling,” Mr Biden said in an address on Friday. Specifically, he said that high prices around gasoline and food at the grocery are a source of anxiety for many American consumers.

“But there’s every reason for the American people to feel confident that we’ll meet these challenges”, he said. “Because of the enormous progress that we’ve made on the economy, Americans can tackle inflation from a position of strength.”

Mr Biden blamed higher gasoline and food prices on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.

“This is a 'Putin Price Hike'”, he said, since Ukraine and Russia are two of the countries major suppliers of wheat and corn.

The jobs numbers beat Wall Street’s expectations that the economy would only add 300,000 jobs. The increase in jobs and growth in worker’s wages are a sign that the US economy is improving despite inflation persisting and Americans’ concerns about rising prices.

The labor force participation rate, which measures how many people are either actively employed or looking for a job, remained at 62.3 per cent, which is still 1.1 percentage points higher than the number was in February 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic began in earnest.

The president said that the US economy adding jobs at a steadier rate than at the robust rate it did in previous months would allow inflation to go down quicker.

Hourly earnings increased 0.3 per cent in the past month while they grew by 5.2 per cent in the last 12 months.

Leisure and hospitality drove the increases for May, adding 84,000 jobs that month. Food and drinking establishments added 46,000 jobs while hospitality added 21,000 jobs.

But retail jobs declined by 61,000 that same month, but still has 159,000 more jobs than it did before the pandemic hit. Information, financial activities and other services remained virtually unchanged.

The number comes as President Joe Biden has sought to calm fears about rising inflation in the US economy. Earlier this week Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CNN she was wrong about the trajectory of inflation last year when she said it posed a “small risk.”

“As I mentioned, there have been unanticipated and large shocks to the economy that have boosted energy and food prices and supply bottlenecks that have affected our economy badly that I didn't -- at the time -- didn't fully understand, but we recognize that now,” she said earlier this week.

Mr Biden also published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal talking about his plan to combat inflation.

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