559,000 new jobs were added last month, with unemployment claims dropping once again.
House Republicans spent Friday morning attacking President Joe Biden over the latest jobs numbers, suggesting the figures, which were slightly lower than predicted, constituted a failure.
The U.S. economy in fact added 559,000 jobs in May — more than double the number added the month before. The improving employment data comes as new unemployment claims have dropped to new pandemic lows in recent weeks, in the wake of Biden's American Rescue Plan and a successful COVID-19 vaccination drive.
Though the new job totals were slightly below the economists' predictions of around 650,000 new jobs, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.8% — better than those economists' 5.9% expectation.
House Republicans tried to spin this progress as a great disappointment.
"Economy falls short of expectations with 559,000 jobs added in May," the official House Republican twitter account complained.
"As we emerge from the virus, our economy should be booming, but today's lackluster jobs report shows President Biden's policies have stalled our recovery," wrote House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. "Bidenomics is bad for America."
"Yet again, President Biden’s jobs report misses the mark - further proof that the Democrats' socialist economic agenda DOES NOT WORK," Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the House Republican Conference chair, tweeted.
"Joe Biden’s economy misses again," tweeted Colorado Rep. Ken Buck. "This is what happens when you disincentivize work."
"The May jobs report missed the mark by 100k jobs. Enough is enough," said Rep. Barry Moore of Alabama. "It's time for Biden to stop incentivizing unemployment and get Americans back to work."
Without evidence, Republicans blamed disappointing April jobs numbers — added employment of just 266,000 — on the $300-a-week emergency unemployment insurance payments provided under Biden's American Rescue Plan, suggesting they were somehow encouraging workers to stay home.
But William Spriggs, the AFL-CIO's chief economist, noted that was not actually happening. "Labor force flow data show we are in a steady pattern of unemployed workers being able to land jobs. The early exits last Spring reflected the large share of temporary layoffs," he wrote. "The flat trend shows there is nothing related to UI benefit supplement changes."
After strong job growth under President Barack Obama, Donald Trump saw a net loss of about 3 million jobs during his term — the worst numbers since Herbert Hoover. While Trump presided over job growth prior to the coronavirus and its resulting economic shutdown, even his best month pre-pandemic was just 378,000 new jobs (in February 2018).
Biden has already regained a substantial number of the jobs Trump lost: more than 2.1 million in just four months.
He has also proposed an American Jobs Plan which would create and sustain millions more jobs over the next decade. Republicans have objected to it, instead offering just a small fraction of the new investments in infrastructure Biden requested.
Despite sustained GOP attempts to label Biden a failure, the American public is simply not buying it. A Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, released last Monday, found that 62% approve of his job performance and the same number approve of his handling of the economy.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.