Joe Biden on Friday bragged about the performance of the economy by saying Americans feel more ‘financially comfortable’ since he came into office, despite 40-year high inflation and record gas prices across the country.
Biden vowed to continue trying to bring costs down in his remarks on a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report showing the job market slowed in May with 390,000 jobs while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6%.
Economists praised the figure as healthy and Biden said it showed ‘stable, steady growth.’
‘America is in a stronger economic position today than just about any other country in the world,’ he said in remarks in Rehoboth Beach, Del., Where he is spending the weekend. ‘Independent experts have projected that the US economy could grow faster than China’s economy this year. That hasn’t happened since 1976. ‘
Biden argued the economic stability put the United States in ‘strong position to tackle what is clearly a problem – inflation.’
He again blamed the high costs of food and gas on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. But he also acknowledged the blame being placed on his administration.
‘I understand that families who are struggling, probably don’t care why the prices are up. They just want them to go down, ‘Biden said.
The price of food is rising and on Thursday average nationwide gas prices hit a new high of $ 4.71 – with seven states higher than $ 5.
He said his administration would work to help people save money in other areas, such as utility bills, internet service, and prescription drugs.
‘If food and gas prices are going to be elevated by Putin’s price hike, one way we can make things a little better for families is by helping them save on other basic items their family needs on a monthly basis, like their utility bills, their internet bills, their prescription drug bills, and other costs like housing, ‘he said
‘My goal is to make sure that, at the end of the month, families have a little more breathing room than they have now.’
Joe Biden on Friday bragged about the performance of the economy by saying Americans feel more ‘financially comfortable’ since he came into office, and vowed to lower gas and food prices
Polls show American voters rate inflation as one of their top concerns and many are critical of Biden’s handling of the issue, which has Democrats worried ahead of November’s midterm election.
May’s job numbers were the smallest growth rate in a year but the figures still beat expectations.
Economists predicted a number that would come in under the 428,000 jobs added in both March and April but the expected number for May was 325,000.
The 390,000 jobs number beat that. While it is considered healthy a healthy jobs number, it ends the record-breaking streak of 12 straight months in which job growth had topped 400,000.
The number is seen as a reflection of a still-healthy job market despite concerns that the economy will weaken after the Federal Reserve raised a key interest rate in order to combat inflation.
President Biden is under intense pressure to do something about sky-high prices for food, gas and other goods ahead of the November election.
Economists say the slower job growth was expected now that the US has recovered 95% of jobs lost during the first two months of the covid pandemic.
The labor market had seen fierce competition for workers amid labor shortages, which ended up driving up wages, as workers were slow to return to jobs after the great shutdown.
But forecasters say the market has hit an equilibrium as the country recovers from the pandemic.
US gas prices have hit a new high of $ 4.71, just a day after hitting the record as seven states top off at $ 5 a gallon
Gas prices have risen significantly since 2019 as the US continues to pull itself out of the pandemic economy
In what was seen as a prediction for the May jobs report, private payroll job growth slowed last month, according to the ADP National Employment Report published on Thursday morning.
Companies added 128,000 jobs in May, falling far short of the 300,000 increase that economists had forecast, according to Refinitiv.
The slowdown represented the worst month since April 2020, when workers were sent home as the pandemic took hold and the country went into a huge economic shutdown.
‘Under a backdrop of a tight labor market and elevated inflation, monthly job gains are closer to prepandemic levels,’ said Nela Richardson, chief economist at the payroll firm, ADP.
‘The job growth rate of hiring has tempered across all industries, while small businesses remain a source of concern as they struggle to keep up with larger firms that have been booming as of late.’
There were more encouraging data elsewhere.
The number of Americans filing fresh claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week as demand for labor remained strong.
The weekly unemployment claims report from the Labor Department on Thursday, also showed state jobless benefits rolls declining to their lowest level since 1969 in the second-half of May.
The White House has pushed an economic message this week: On Tuesday President Joe Biden met with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, right, and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, left, in the Oval Office
Meanwhile, voters are giving President Biden low marks for his handling of the economy. That disapproval is the major contributor to his low overall approval rating, which has Democrats feeling anxious ahead of the midterm election that will decide the control of Congress.
Republicans are favored to take back control of the House of Representatives come November.
Ahead of the election, Biden is under pressure to combat the record high inflation that has caused costs of groceries, gas and other goods to rise.
This week the administration has pushed an economic message, flooding cable TV shows with economic advisers to all the low unemployment rate.
Biden met with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin in the Oval Office last week.
In an attempt to rein in inflation, the Fed raised its short-term rate last month by a half-point, its biggest hike since 2000, to a range of 0.75% to 1%, causing borrowing costs to rise and housing sales to fall .
Two additional half-point rate increases are expected this month and in July.