President Joe Biden fluffed his lines on Friday as he delivered a speech on an improving jobs market, accidentally saying that unemployment had been below 14 percent for more than a year.
In fact, he meant that it had been below four percent.
The 80-year-old made his blunder in the Rose Garden, during a speech to mark how his policies had helped Americans get back to work after pandemic lockdowns.
‘When I took office, the unemployment rate was 6.3 percent,’ he said, wearing Aviator sunglasses against the September sunshine.
‘The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that it would not get below four percent until the end of 2025.
‘Now, the unemployment rate has been below 14% for the last 19 months, the longest stretch in over 50 years. We recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic.’
Joe Biden fluffed his lines on Friday as he delivered a speech on an improving jobs market, accidentally saying that unemployment had been below 14 percent for more than a year
The jobless rate rose to 3.8 percent in August, up from 3.5 percent in July and the highest since February 2022, the Labor Department said Friday
And the economy has added a million new jobs, he said.
He spoke soon after publication of the July jobs report. It concluded that the national unemployment rate had ticked up slightly to 3.8 percent as some of the heat left the jobs market.
Biden said it came off the back of a period of historic job growth.
‘It wasn’t that long ago that America was losing jobs,’ he said. ‘In fact, my predecessor was one of only two presidents in history, who entered his presidency and left with fewer jobs than when he entered.
‘Look at where we are right now. Just this morning, we learned that the economy created 190,000 jobs last month. All told we’ve added 13.5 million jobs since I took office.’
That may be true. But President Donald Trump’s time in office started with jobs growth and ended with massive economic shutdown, sending people home as COVID-19 gripped the country.
Earlier the monthly jobs report showed how an overheated job market was returning to room temperature.
The jobless rate rose to 3.8 percent in August, up from 3.5 percent in July and the highest since February 2022, the Labor Department said in its employment situation report on Friday.
Employers added 187,000 new jobs last month, more than economists had expected, and up from 157,000 in July, a figure that was revised downward by 30,000.
Biden delivered his remarks in the White House rose garden, where he wore Aviator sunglasses to protect against the September sunshine
Employers added 187,000 new jobs last month, more than economists had expected, and up from 157,000 in July, a figure that was revised downward by 30,000
But the rising unemployment rate suggests that job seekers are spending more time between positions, as the number of openings drops from the dizzying levels seen last year, when companies were desperate for labor.
‘We are beginning to see this slow glide into a cooler labor market,’ said Becky Frankiewicz, chief commercial officer at the employment firm ManpowerGroup. ‘Make no mistake: Demand is cooling off. … But it’s not a freefall.’
The labor force participation rate, which had been flat since March, increased to 62.8 percent, finally reaching a level in line with figures recorded before the pandemic.
The number of ‘new entrants’ among the unemployed, referring to people with no prior work experience, edged up as well, suggesting that first-time job seekers are spending longer on their job hunts.
Signs of a cooling labor market should be welcome by the Federal Reserve, which has been trying to tame inflation with a series of aggressive interest rate hikes.
The central bank wants to see hiring decelerate, because strong demand for workers tends to fuel rapid wage increases and feed inflation.
The new data showed that average hourly earnings in August rose 0.2 percent, slower than the month before, to $33.82. Average hourly earnings are up 4.3 percent from a year ago.