Biden says US economy making ‘consistent and steady progress’ despite jobs report missing projections

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Biden built a plug for his huge infrastructure and spending plans pending in Congress

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President Biden said the US economy is making “sustained and steady progress” despite missing projections in September’s jobs report, maintaining that the economy is “moving forward.”

“Unemployment has dropped to 4.8% in today’s report, a significant improvement since I took office, and our economy continues to grow, even in the face of the COVID pandemic,” Biden said. “Wages have gone up.”

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“This is progress,” he said.

A September jobs report projected to show that hiring accelerated last month as COVID-19 cases dwindled nationwide and federal unemployment benefits for millions of Americans ended.

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But the Labor Department announced Friday that US employers are hiring far fewer workers than expected.

Non-farm payrolls increased by 194,000 workers in September as the unemployment rate fell to 4.8%. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting 500,000 new jobs to be added and the unemployment rate to slip to 5.1%.

Job gains were increased from 235,000 to 366,000 in August.

The president, however, touted the Labor Department’s findings this week that, in the third quarter of 2021, the number of layoffs and job cuts is “the lowest in this country since 1997.”

Biden said the jobs report is a reminder that “there is important work ahead of us and significant investments that we need to make.”

“America is still the world’s largest economy, but if we don’t move forward, we risk losing our edge as a nation,” Biden said of his massive infrastructure and pending spending plans in Congress. Making a plug for it, he said his investment in the plan would give American workers a “fighting chance” and lead the country to higher GDP and job creation.

“These bills are about competition versus complacency,” Biden said. “Opportunity vs. Decay. They’re about leading the world, or letting the world pass us by.”

He added: “The American people know what’s at stake. They understand that when workers and families have a better shot, America has a better shot.”

The September report was the first since $300 per week in supplemental unemployment benefits ended September 5. Economists are still assessing the impact of the Child Tax Credit, which pays families up to $3,600 per child per year. Also having an effect going forward is the increasing number of companies implementing mandatory vaccine requirements.

Notable job gains in leisure and hospitality (+74,000) were led by the arts, entertainment and entertainment sectors (+43,000). After an average monthly profit of 197,000 from January to July, there was little change in fares for food services and drinking places for the second consecutive month. Business and business services (+60,000), retail trade (+56,000), and transportation and warehousing (+47,000) also saw significant gains.

Local government education (-144,000) and state government education (-17,000) both lost jobs last month.

The number of workers re-entering the labor force fell from 198,000 last month to 2.3 million. The labor force participation rate had changed little at 61.6%, and was down 1.7 percentage points from February 2020 levels. The rate has been between 61.4% and 61.7% since June 2020.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.6% in September and rose 4.6% year over year. Economists were expecting 0.4% monthly growth and 4.6% year-on-year profit.

Granthshala Business’ Jonathan Garber and Megan Heaney contributed to this report.


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