On Day 107, President Joe Biden said the abysmal jobs report was not actually bad news—but it’s the last president’s fault.
On April Jobs Report, It’s “Best” To Average Things Together.
The April jobs report released Friday, May 7, fell far below expectations, with just 266,000 jobs added in the last month—against forecasts close to one million—and March’s jobs gains were revised lower, from 916,000 to 770,000.
President Joe Biden took the podium at 12:00 p.m. sharp to “put today’s jobs report in perspective,” blaming the economic situation on former President Donald Trump and touting his own massive spending bills as both working well and not enough.
“Listening to commentators today as I was getting dressed, you might think that we should be disappointed,” the president said with a laugh. “But when we passed the American Rescue Plan, I want to remind everybody, it was designed to help us over the course of a year—not 60 days, a year. We never thought that, after the first 50 or 60 days, everything would be fine.”
The president went on to average together the monthly jobs gains under his presidency vis-a-vis the last three months of the Trump administration. “In these three months before I got here, the economy added about 60,000 jobs a month, not half a million. In the three months since I’ve been here, the economy has added 500,000 jobs per month,” Biden said, not mentioning the “average” part.
“When we came in, we inherited a year of profound economic crisis and mismanagement on the virus. And we proposed a—and what we proposed is going to work. We’re going to get to 70 percent. But at any rate…” Biden trailed off.
The president also dismissed the notion that the disappointing jobs number could have anything to do with generous unemployment benefits—because the middle-class people Biden knows don’t think that way: “The idea that they don’t want to work—most middle-class, working-class people that I know think the way my dad did. . . ‘A job is a lot more than a paycheck,’ he’d say. ‘Joey, it’s about your respect, your dignity, your place in the community.’ More than a paycheck. It’s people’s pride.”
In a follow-up press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki and Treasury secretary Janet Yellen also used the averaged number to describe month-to-month job growth under the Biden presidency. “I think the best thing is to average through and say we’ve been creating over 500,000 jobs a month, on average, over the last three months,” Yellen said.
Vice President Kamala Harris issued a separate statement.
“More action is needed. Roughly five million women still can’t work due to childcare issues,” Harris wrote. “Our American Families Plan will lower the cost of childcare, making it possible for more women to work. And our American Jobs Plan will help create millions of good-paying jobs.”