President Joe Biden addressed the disappointing jobs report Friday, insisting despite the weak numbers, his administration is making “real progress.”
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U.S. employers added just 194,000 jobs in September, a second straight tepid gain and evidence that the pandemic still has a grip on the economy with many companies struggling to fill millions of open jobs.
But Friday’s report from the Labor Department also showed that the unemployment rate fell sharply to 4.8% from 5.2% in August.
In remarks from the White House, Biden pointed to that metric, calling it “a significant improvement” from when he took office and a sign the economic “recovery is moving forward even in the face of a COVID pandemic.”
Republicans quickly seized on the modest job gains of 194,000 jobs in September as evidence that Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package had failed to deliver as promised.
But Biden maintained the opposite, saying, “Jobs up, wages up, unemployment down. That’s progress.”
Democrats interpreted the report as evidence that their multi-trillion tax and spending program to help with infrastructure, school, child care, family leave and health care was needed to lift up the potential for continued growth.
“Maybe, it doesn’t seem fast enough,” the president said in remarks Friday at the White House. “I’d like to see it faster and we’re gonna make it faster.”