President Joe Biden’s promised economic comeback hit a speed bump Friday with the April jobs report, which found modest job gains of 266,000 that complicated his $4 trillion push on infrastructure, education and children.
The employment report failed to show that the U.S. economy was accelerating forward, so much as it appeared to be stutter-stepping along as the unemployment rate ticked up to 6.1%.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Biden sought to easy concerns about the report.
“We knew this wouldn’t be a sprint—it’d be a marathon,” Biden said.
He said the pandemic relief package “was designed to help us over the course of a year, not 60 days. A year. We never thought that after the first 50 or 60 days everything would be fine. Today, there’s more evidence our economy is moving in the right direction. But it’s clear we have a long way to go.”
Biden said his administration’s “efforts are starting to work. But the climb is steep.”
And he said the latest jobs report only underscores how crucial it is that Congress pass his American Jobs Plan.
The data presents Biden with a fresh challenge at a critical moment in his presidency. He is betting that an open embrace of massive government spending will help resolve the nation’s public health and financial turmoil — and lift the political prospects for Democrats heading into next year’s elections.
But the disappointing jobs numbers may only embolden his critics and stiffen the Republican resistance to proposals including the infrastructure package Biden is pushing through Congress.