The Ministry of Labor signal that the economy added 559,000 jobs in May, an acceleration from April, Democrats and the Biden administration argued on Friday, adding new fuel to the president’s claims that vaccinations and his economic agenda are starting to put the economy back on track. rails after an interrupted recovery from the pandemic recession.
“This is historic progress,” Biden said in remarks from Rehoboth Beach, Del. “Progress that brings our economy out of the worst crisis it has seen in 100 years.”
He then claimed credit for these advances, both for his administration’s campaign to increase vaccine production and distribution in the United States and for the $ 1.9 trillion economic aid legislation he enacted in March.
“None of these successes are an accident. This is not luck, “Biden said, praising” the cooperation of the American people in responding to my efforts to bring COVID under control, wear masks initially and get vaccinated. “
But the report, which fell short of analysts’ expectations for the second month in a row and showed a slight contraction in the workforce, also fueled Republican criticism of the president. They say improved unemployment benefits – which were extended by Mr Biden’s aid legislation in March – are discouraging workers from returning to work and holding back what could be an even faster recovery.
“Long-term unemployment is higher than at the start of the pandemic, and labor force participation reflects the stagnation of the 1970s,” said Representative Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, in a press release. “It’s time for President Biden to abandon his attack on American jobs, his tax hikes, anti-growth regulations and his obsession with more emergency spending and endless government controls.”
After the April report fell significantly short of expectations, Republican governors across the country decided to prematurely end the additional $ 300 per week unemployment benefits that began under President Donald J. Trump and are expected to end. continue through September as part of Mr. Biden’s aid package.
Mr Biden said on Friday that these benefits had helped Americans weather the crisis, but noted that they expire in 90 days. “It makes sense,” he said, “it expires in 90 days. “
White House economists said last month that there was no evidence yet in the numbers that the supplement discouraged work, instead highlighting constraints such as school closures and childcare issues. children preventing women with children from returning to work, as well as a large number of people of working age. Americans who had not been fully immunized. Administration economists doubled that reading on Friday.
“It is too early to conclude that labor supply issues are slowing down the long-term trajectory of the recovery,” White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Cecilia Rouse wrote in an article. blog Friday morning.
Democratic leaders in Congress have continued to push for unemployment benefits to continue as planned and for lawmakers to adopt the rest of Mr. Biden’s $ 4 trillion economic program.
“The American people need all the support they can get, especially the black and Hispanic communities that have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Representative Don Beyer of Virginia, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee. , in a press release. “Lawmakers must intervene. This includes continuing to improve unemployment insurance to support workers seeking employment and the passage by Congress of President Biden’s employment and family plans.
(Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this briefing incorrectly rendered President Biden’s comments on the factors driving the improvement in the economy. The article has been updated with correct quote.)