Heading into Labor Day weekend, Biden celebrates new job growth

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the August U.S. jobs and employment report numbers in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., Sept. 1, 2023.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden lauded new jobs data out Friday that showed robust growth in the past month.

“As we head into Labor Day, we ought to take a step back and take note of the fact that America’s now in one of the strongest job-creating periods in our history,” Biden said in the White House Rose Garden. “It wasn’t that long ago that America was losing jobs.”

Friday’s jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 187,000 in August, beating estimates of 170,000.

The unemployment rate rose to 3.8%, up from 3.5% in July, and the highest it has been since February 2022.

Nonetheless, Biden noted last month’s jobless rate was far below 6.3% unemployment, the rate when he took office in January 2021.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.2% in August, below expectations, but still up 4.3% compared to a year ago.

Officials at the Federal Reserve are keeping a close eye on jobs numbers as they decide whether to implement another interest rate hike this fall. The Fed would like to see the market cool off and the labor market slow down to help decrease inflation back to the traditional 2% target.

Inflation has already fallen to about a third of what it was a year ago. Biden said Friday that the drop is attributable to his administration’s economic policy.

“Some experts said to get inflation under control, we needed higher unemployment and lower wages, but I’ve never thought that was the problem,” Biden said. “It’s no accident. I came to office determined to build the economy in a different way, from the middle out and the bottom up.”

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