President Joe Biden has hailed the May jobs report as proof that the United States is recovering from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, while claiming that no other country is growing as fast.
“No other major economy in the world is growing as fast as ours,” Mr Biden said on Friday after the release of the jobs report. “No other major economy is gaining jobs as quickly as ours.”
He added: “None of this success is an accident. It isn’t luck.”
The latest jobs report showed that the US labour market picked up 559,000 jobs in May following a lacklustre gain in April.
Payroll was expected to increase by 671,000 jobs, according to economists surveyed by Dow Jones, so the country still was grappling with the economic impact of the pandemic.
But Mr Biden defended the report by stating that “signs of further progress are already here” since an additional 21 million adults have received a Covid-19 vaccine since the numbers were recorded.
“This is historic progress … progress that is pulling our economy out of the worst crisis it’s been in in 100 years,” Mr Biden said.
The unemployment rate fell to 5.8 per cent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, making it the lowest jobless figure for the country since March 2020. Prior to the jobs report showing the full impact of the pandemic lockdown, the US unemployment rate stood at 4.4 per cent.
The leisure and hospitality industry took the biggest hit once the pandemic hit last year. But now those industries are showing the most growth as more and more of the country gets vaccinated and opens up.
About 292,000 jobs were added to leisure and hospitality, with a bulk of those coming from bars and restaurants.
Mr Biden acknowledged that the economy was not growing as fast as economists hoped, but he remained optimistic that the unemployment rate would continue to decline as more industries opened.
“As we continue this recovery, we’re gonna hit some bumps along the way — of course that will happen. We can’t reboot the world’s largest economy like flipping a light switch,” he said.
The United States was still down about 7.6 million jobs compared to February 2020.