On Friday morning, the United States reported an impressive 517,000 jobs were added in January, far exceeding the 185,000 jobs that economists had predicted. The unemployment rate fell to 3.4%, the lowest rate since May 1969.
In response to the news, President Joe Biden took a victory lap and declared his economic plan is working. “Today’s data makes crystal clear what I’ve always known in my gut: These critics and cynics are wrong. While we may face setbacks along the way … our plan is working because of the grit and resolve of the American worker,” he said.
The inflation rate has been steadily decreasing, with the Consumer Price Index dropping from a June peak of 9.1 percent to 6.5 percent in December. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is working to bring inflation down to the central bank’s target range of 2 percent. The Fed raised interest rates by a quarter of a point on Wednesday, the eighth straight increase.
When asked about inflation, Biden said, “Do I take any blame for inflation? No. Because it was already there when I got here, man. Remember what the economy was like when I got here? Jobs were hemorrhaging. Inflation was rising. We weren't manufacturing a damn thing here. We were in real economic difficulty. That's why I don't.”
Hourly earnings went up by 0.3%, which was the same as what had been predicted, and were 4.4% higher than the same time last year – a 0.1% increase from what was expected. Biden also said, “We’re going to keep seeing shovels hitting the ground all around the country to rebuild the infrastructure and supply chains, manufacturing more here at home and communities across the country that were too easily written off for dead. We’re going to not only see jobs coming back but a sense of self-worth and pride coming back.”
The economy's growth is likely to be a major talking point when Biden gives his State of the Union address before Congress next week. He said Friday, “But today, today I’m happy to report that the state of the union and the state of the economy is strong.”
This news will be a relief to Biden's administration, as the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will soon have a showdown over lifting the debt ceiling.
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1. “Biden claims ‘state of our economy is strong' despite inflation” Washington Examiner, 3 Feb. 2023, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/restoring-america/patriotism-unity/biden-claims-state-of-our-economy-is-strong-despite-inflation
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