Commentary

President Joe Biden addresses a news conference at the COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday.

President Joe Biden addresses a news conference at the COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday. (Brendan Smialowski – AFP / Getty Images)

 By Grant Atkinson  November 6, 2021 at 7:24am

President Joe Biden used the October jobs report to brag about his supposed accomplishments on Friday. In reality, the report was not nearly as encouraging as Biden would have people believe.

According to Yahoo, there were some reasons to be excited about the report. It said a total of 531,000 workers were added to nonfarm payrolls in October. Unemployment also fell to 4.6 percent, the lowest number since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Eager for a much-needed win, Biden took the opportunity to brag about himself in a news briefing Friday morning.

“Americans are getting back to work. Our economy is starting to work for more Americans,” he said. “Thanks to the economic plan we put through in Congress earlier this year and a successful vaccine deployment, America continues to add jobs at a record pace.”

Tune in as I deliver remarks on the October jobs report. https://t.co/O1fjR2oF2f

— President Biden (@POTUS) November 5, 2021

While it is true that 531,000 more people are on payrolls than a month ago, Yahoo said the number was misleading. That is because there are still millions fewer Americans employed today than before the pandemic.

“The ongoing decline in the unemployment rate and strong wage growth suggest labor market slack is diminishing rapidly,” Bank of America analysts wrote, according to Yahoo.

“That said, there are still 4.2 million fewer people employed today than in February 2020 and the labor force participation rate was unchanged at 61.6%.”

Even with his so-called “historic” progress, Biden still faces an unemployment rate that is a full 1.1 percentage points higher than it was in February 2020.

The numbers also suggest that Biden’s progress is largely still a recovery from an artificial downturn created by COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns.

In order to claim his economy is better than former President Donald Trump’s, Biden would have to improve upon Trump’s pre-pandemic numbers, not just get back to where things were.

ING economist James Knightley said the October report showed “​​decent U.S. jobs growth, but it should be so much better.” Knightley added he felt a “sense of mild disappointment.”

The Biden administration also touted wage increases, which Yahoo said have risen 4.9 percent since last year. But Knightley explained the real consequences of inflated wages.

“Pay will have to be bid higher, with those cost increases likely passed onto consumers,” he predicted.

In addition, it is pretty clear that Biden’s unemployment benefits were encouraging Americans not to work. CNBC reported that October’s drop in jobless claims was “the result in good part from enhanced unemployment benefits expiring.”

In other words, Biden was paying people to stay home and not work, and now he is taking credit for those people actually going back to work after he stopped paying them.

While more people on payrolls is good news, these numbers do not represent some massive victory for Biden. The economy is still in much worse shape today than it was in the pre-pandemic Trump era.

Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.

Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.

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