U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday used September’s job figures — showing the economy added 336,000 new jobs and unemployment remained steady at 3.8% — to tout his “Bidenomics” plan and chastise congressional Republicans.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday also showed that wage growth remained steady, with average hourly earnings up 4.2% over the last 12 months.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Biden said that job growth was “from the middle out, and the bottom up, not the top down,” and that the unemployment rate was below 4% for 20 consecutive months, the longest stretch in 50 years.
“And inflation is coming down at the same time,” he said. “It’s down 60 percent since last summer. Core inflation was just 2.2 percent over the past three months. And now we have the lowest inflation of any major economy in the world.”
Despite the improving economic numbers, recent opinion polls show that a majority of Americans do not believe that Biden is doing a good job at steering the U.S. economy.
Only 36% of U.S. adults approve of the president’s handling of the economy, according to an August poll from The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Progress seen jeopardized
The Democratic president said the country’s economic progress was put in jeopardy last week when demands for drastic spending cuts by House Republicans almost shut down the federal government.
He said the cuts Republicans were seeking would have reduced funding for small business and manufacturers.
Biden said, “I am sick and tired of Republicans saying they want to cut the deficit when all they want to do is cut taxes for the very wealthy and for big corporations.” He said that is not what the economy needs right now.
Republicans say that large government spending cuts are needed to shrink the federal deficit, which was more than $1.5 trillion in fiscal year 2023.
The president called on House Republicans not to put the country back in crisis mode. He said members of Congress have less than 40 days to fund the government and avoid a shutdown to protect the economic gains the nation has made. He added, “It’s time to stop fooling around. House Republicans, it’s time to do your job.”
The Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution on September 30 to fund the government for another 45 days, giving lawmakers more time to agree on funding legislation for the next fiscal year.
However, following that agreement, Republican Kevin McCarthy, who worked with Democrats to pass the continuing resolution, was voted out of his job as House speaker, opposed by a contingent of hard-right conservatives as well as Democrats.
Biden was asked if he could work with outspoken conservative Representative Jim Jordan if he were elected speaker. Jordan has been endorsed for the job by former President Donald Trump.
Biden said he would try to work with whoever is chosen as speaker. “Some people, I imagine, would be easier to work with than others, but I’ll try to work with them.”
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.