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Data: BLS. Chart: Axios Visuals

Friday's deeply disappointing jobs report should light a fire under Congress, which has dithered despite signs the economy is struggling to kick back into gear.

Driving the news: President-elect Biden said Friday afternoon in Wilmington that he supports another round of $1,200 checks.

Why it matters: Lawmakers need to pass a funding bill — which they plan to pair with a stimulus deal — by next Friday to avert a government shutdown.

  • Today's jobs report: 245,000.
  • Last month's jobs report: 610,000.
  • 400,000 people dropped out of the labor force last month.
  • America has 9.8 million fewer jobs than in February.

Between the lines: Republican and Democratic leaders are sounding more optimistic that Congress has a shot at passing coronavirus stimulus in the near future.

  • There is still a lot of skepticism from lawmakers across Congress.
  • The parties are still far apart on some of the package’s key priorities, mainly more money for state and local aid and widespread liability protections.

A promising sign: Many Senate Republicans who have balked at a high price tag for the deal, like John Thune and Lindsey Graham, said they are open to supporting the $908 billion framework rolled out by a bipartisan group of lawmakers earlier this week.

  • Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer said they support the bill — despite months of insisting they wouldn’t agree to anything under $2.2 trillion. 

The bottom line: 34.9% of the 10.7 million people unemployed in November were permanent job losses, noted S&P Global U.S. Chief Economist Beth Ann Bovino in an analyst email:

  • "The harsh reality is that we don't expect the economy to regain all the 22.2 million jobs lost from the pandemic until first-quarter 2023."

Go deeper

Dual assurances from Biden and Powell

Data: U.S. Department of LaborFRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

President-elect Joe Biden and Fed chairman Jerome Powell had two messages in public remarks on Thursday:

  • Biden's: Help is on the way.
  • Powell's: Help is here to stay.
Updated Jan 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden on his nearly $2 trillion plan: "We cannot afford inaction”

Joe Biden before speaking Thursday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Biden called for a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan this evening, including money to combat the spread of the virus, vaccinate millions of Americans and provide direct relief to individuals in the form of an additional $1,400 in cash payments.

Why it matters: Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” is his opening bid to Congress on the first of two massive proposals requiring approval in the House and Senate. He'll return in February, in his first address to Congress, to ask for additional infrastructure spending, as Axios reported and Biden confirmed Thursday night.

27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's latest executive order: Buy American

President Joe R. Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services.

Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.