President Joe Biden sounded a triumphant note Friday after the monthly jobs report came in significantly above expectations.
“America’s job machine is going stronger than ever,” Biden said at the White House.
Employers in the U.S. added roughly 467,000 jobs in January and the numbers for November and December were revised significantly upward — an unexpected jolt to the economy that came in the midst of the surging Omicron variant of Covid-19.
“America is back to work,” the president said.
Biden said that with Friday’s news, the economy has added more than 6.6 million jobs over his first year in office.
“If you can’t remember another year when so many people went to work in this country, there’s a reason. It never happened,” Biden said. “History has been made here.”
The strong jobs numbers seemed to have caught the White House off guard, as officials had been signaling in the run-up to its release that the January report may have been weighed down by the spike in Covid-19 infections.
The jobs figures also offers a political tailwind to the administration, which in recent weeks has seen key parts of its legislative agenda sputter in Congress and Biden’s poll numbers sink.
Biden also used the January jobs report to make the case for his stalled Build Back Better plan, which has floundered on Capitol Hill since late last year, when lynchpin Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced his opposition to the massive social spending package.
“The bottom line is this, the United States is once again in a position to not only compete with the rest of the world, but outcompete the rest of the world once again,” he said.
Biden did acknowledge that more work still needs to be down to tamp down the rate of inflation, which has eaten into economic progress on other fronts.
“We still need to ease the burden on working families by making everyday things more affordable and accessible,” he said, arguing that his spending blueprint would help do so.