WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden responded to the June jobs numbers on Friday, saying the strong growth in employment reflects the success of his American Rescue Plan relief bill this spring and his administration’s nationwide vaccination campaigns.
“We’re proving to the naysayers and the doubters that they were wrong,” Biden said Friday morning at the White House.
“More jobs, better wages — that’s a good combination. Put simply, our economy is on the move, and we have Covid-19 on the run,” he said.
Job growth leaped higher in June with the U.S. economy rapidly recovering, the Labor Department reported Friday.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 850,000 for the month, compared with the Dow Jones estimate of 706,000 and better than the upwardly revised 583,000 in May. The unemployment rate, however, rose to 5.9% against the 5.6% expectation.
The June report was the first to fully account for the impact of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s May 13 announcement that fully vaccinated adults no longer need to wear masks outdoors in crowds or in most indoor settings.
The announcement had a domino effect on state-level mask mandates, helping to draw Americans back to office buildings, health-care providers and other activities they had avoided during the past year.
Biden hailed the Independence Day weekend as a reason to celebrate more milestones than just the end of mask mandates.
“There’s great things happening,” he said. “The economy is growing faster than any time in 40 years, we’ve got a record number of new jobs, Covid deaths are down 90%, wages are up faster than any time in 15 years, we’re bringing our troops home … and all across America, people are going to ball games and doing good things.”
Hiring accelerated as the second quarter morphed into a summer that will see close to a return to normal for Americans who limited activity for the past year due to pandemic-related restrictions.
As the data continues to point higher, economists are looking for GDP growth in the second quarter to approach 10%. It’s a stunning continuation of a rebound helped by vaccines that have sharply reduced Covid-19 case rates along with hospitalizations and deaths.
The latest numbers bring the total job recovery from the pandemic losses to 15.6 million.
More than 22.3 million Americans were laid off in March and April 2020 amid government-imposed business restrictions, and the total employment level remains 7.13 million below where it was in February 2020.
“Today’s job news brought us something else to celebrate” over the Independence Day holiday, Biden said.
The president will spend Saturday in Michigan, celebrating the success of the vaccination campaign and pitching his bipartisan infrastructure bill.
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