President Biden was all smiles Friday morning as he got to boast about the latest jobs report, detailing how the economy added 517,000 jobs in January, greatly outpacing the 190,000 expected by Wall Street.
That good news was further enriched by a revision for December that showed another half-million jobs for 2022.
The president was happy to tout how his administration seems to be defying many economists’ prediction of a recession, noting that the US has seen 12 million new jobs in his two years in office.
“We learned this morning,” Biden told reporters, “that the economy created 517,000 jobs just last month.…In addition, we also learned that half-a-million more jobs were created last year than we thought….Add that all up, it means we created 12 million…12 million jobs since I took office.”
The president said that it’s a record-setting number, as no president has created so many jobs in just two years.
Such types of statements can be a bit misleading, though all presidents make them: population increases mean that numbers like job growth or the number of houses being built (another presidential talking point) tend to grow over time.
Still, progress under the Biden administration certainly stands out among modern presidents, as indicated by this chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The job growth has led to an unemployment rate of just 3.4% – the lowest since 1969 – the same year Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon.
Wages have gradually risen even as more people have entered the job market, Biden said.
He also observed that the greatest benefit has accrued to minorities.
Inflation is still a major concern, of course, and the president addressed that as well:
“[E]ven as the job market reaches historic highs,” he said, “inflation continues to come down. Inflation has now fallen for six straight months. Gas prices are down more than a dollar-fifty a gallon since their peak. Food inflation is falling as well. And as inflation is going down, real wages for workers is going up.”
While the president’s detractors will surely continue to harp on the inflation issue, Biden noted that the administration is working hard to bring down costs for healthcare, prescription drugs, and clean energy products.
He said he wants to continue working from the “bottom up” and “middle out” to develop an ever-stronger economy with good, well-paying jobs.
“Put simply,” he said, “I would argue that the Biden economic plan is working.”
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