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U.S. unemployment falls to 54-year low under Biden

253,000 jobs were added across the country in April 2023.

By Oliver Willis - May 05, 2023
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Joe Manchin
President Joe Biden hands the pen he used to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) after signing into law H.R. 5376, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, in the White House, August 16, 2022 in Washington DC. (Photo by Ken Cedeno/Sipa USA via AP Images)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.4% in April, tied for the lowest recorded rate since 1969. The number of jobs added was significantly higher than the 180,000 that had been forecast by Wall Street analysts.

Additionally, the bureau reported that average hourly earnings for all employees has increased by 0.5% and that those same earnings are 4.4% higher than they were a year ago.

The unemployment rate for the Black population is down to 4.7%, the lowest it has ever been since those statistics have been recorded. The unemployment rate for Hispanic or Latino populations at 4.4% is 4.1 percentage points lower than it was when Biden took office in January 2021. Similarly, the unemployment rate for Asian populations is now 2.8%, down 4 points from January 2021.

When Biden was sworn in, the overall unemployment rate that he inherited from former President Donald Trump was 6.3%. Under Trump, unemployment reached a record high of 14.7% in April 2020 as the economy felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reacting to the unemployment numbers, President Joe Biden tweeted“: We just learned we created 253,000 jobs in April. That’s 12.7 million jobs since I took office, an unemployment rate that is the lowest since 1969, and the highest share of working age people in the workforce since 2008. My plan to invest in America is working.”

The 12.7 million jobs added since Biden took office is a reversal from Trump, the only modern president to leave office with a negative jobs record (3 million jobs lost). Biden’s record is in line with those of Democratic presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton (12.5 million and 22.7 million jobs added), while Republican presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush finished their terms with 1.3 million jobs and 2.6 million jobs having been added.

The Biden administration has focused on protecting jobs and enacting legislation designed to create jobs.

The first major legislation that Biden signed, the American Rescue Plan, was a $1.9 trillion stimulus spending package designed to counteract the effect of the pandemic on the economy. Federal Rescue Plan funds were used by states and local governments to provide grants and other assistance to small businesses, which were able to stay in operation and in some instances expand existing businesses or launch new ventures that led to hiring.

That was followed by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which the administration claimed in 2021 was a path to “good-paying, union jobs.”

Biden also signed the CHIPS and Science Act, which includes investments in domestic semiconductor manufacturing. Following the bill’s passage, multiple companies have announced their intentions to open new manufacturing facilities, projects that are forecast to add thousands of new jobs in a number of states.

The Inflation Reduction Act, signed in August 2022, directs a projected $514 billion to be invested in clean energy. Companies will receive tax credits intended to increase the pace of transition to solar, wind and other technologies, which will require an expanded workforce. More hiring is projected to complete infrastructure projects financed by the law as well, such as retrofitting commercial and residential buildings to be climate-efficient, deploying electric vehicle charging stations, and producing electric vehicles.

According to research released in August 2022 by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Inflation Reduction Act is projected to generate more than 9 million jobs over a 10-year period.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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