Biden touts huge jobs report as U.S. vaccination rate hits 50%
President Biden trumpeted the strong July jobs report on Friday as evidence that his economic plans are working, but emphasized that more work still needs to be done to ensure the economy's full recovery as the Delta variant continues to spread.
Why it matters: The U.S. added 943,000 jobs in July, while the unemployment rate fell from 5.9% to a new pandemic-era low of 5.4%. But the jobs survey was taken in mid-July — meaning it doesn’t fully reflect possible effects from the recent surge in COVID-19 infections driven by the Delta variant.
Driving the news: White House COVID-19 data director Cyrus Shahpar announced Friday that half of the entire U.S. population is now fully vaccinated.
- The seven-day average of newly vaccinated people is up 11% from last week and 44% over past two weeks, according to Shapar.
- In an address from the White House on Friday, Biden explicitly tied together the economic recovery and the increased pace of vaccinations.
What they're saying: Biden highlighted the fact that his administration was the first to add 4 million jobs during its first six months, but insisted that his message was not one of celebration.
- "This new Delta variant wave of COVID-19 will be very different ... And yes, cases are going to go up before they come back down. It's a pandemic of the unvaccinated. ... It's taking a needless toll on our country," Biden said.
- "We have a lot of hard work left to be done, both to beat the Delta variant, and to continue our advance of economic recovery. We all know what it starts with," he continued.
- "Today, about 400 people will die because of the Delta variant in this country. A tragedy. Because virtually all of these deaths were preventable if people had gotten vaccinated."