Jul 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden downplays jobs number, rebukes Trump for ignoring health crisis

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday called June’s jobs report “positive news,” but warned that the worst is yet to come and accused President Trump of "giving up" on addressing the root public health causes of the coronavirus.

Driving the news: The Labor Department reported Thursday morning that the economy added 4.8 million jobs last month and that the unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% — down from 13.3%.

  • “There’s no victory to be celebrated,” Biden said in a video message from his home in Delaware. "We are still down nearly 15 million jobs and the pandemic is getting worse, not better.”
  • "Many of the jobs that have come back should not have been lost in the first place."

The big picture: The president raced to the cameras this morning to tout the jobs numbers.

  • Trump didn’t take questions, but when his aides fanned out across cable TV to talk up the economy, they hinted that the case for a big phase 4 stimulus package is diminishing.
  • White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow suggested he wasn’t in favor of a generous extension of unemployment benefits, which are scheduled to expire at the end of the month.

Between the lines: Separate Labor Department figures released Thursday showed that 1.4 million people filed for unemployment claims last week, an indication that the jobs losses remained constant throughout the month — a trend that would not have been detected in the overall jobs report.

  • “Does this feel like a victory?” Biden asked.
  • "Quit claiming victory with almost 15 million Americans still out of work because of the crisis," he finished. "Quit ignoring the reality of this pandemic and the horrifying loss of American life. Act. Lead. Lead. Or get out of the way so others can, Mr. President."

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