Jun 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden on jobs report: Rebooting economy is not like "flipping on a light switch"

President Biden said Friday he remains confident that his economic plans are working and that the U.S. is on the path to a full recovery, following the release of the May jobs report that came in slightly below expectations.

Driving the news: The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate fell to a pandemic-low 5.8%. Biden touted the report as "great news for our economy," while cautioning that "we're going to hit some bumps" along the path to a full recovery.

Between the lines: Democrats and Republicans are already using Friday's jobs report as a frame to either support or attack Biden's multitrillion-dollar spending plans, including his infrastructure proposal.

  • "Joe Biden and Democrats’ failed policies have given us another month where the economy fell short of expectations while Americans see prices for gas, groceries, and other essentials skyrocket," Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
  • Republicans have argued that generous unemployment benefits are keeping Americans from seeking jobs, but the bigger picture is more complex, as Friday's jobs report showed.

What he's saying: "No other major economy in the world is growing as fast as ours. No other major economy is gaining jobs as quickly as ours. And none of the success is an accident, it isn't luck," Biden said in remarks from the White House.

  • "Now is the time to accelerate the process we've been making. Now is the time to build on the foundation we've laid," he said, pointing to the $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan passed by Congress. "Because while progress is undeniable, it is not assured."
  • Biden seemed to acknowledge that the job numbers were lower than expected, saying, "We can't reboot the world's largest economy like flipping on a light switch. There's going to be ups and downs in jobs and economic reports."

Go deeper: Read Axios' breakdown of the May jobs report

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