For those rooting for the U.S economy, Friday morning’s report on job growth was worth celebrating. Not only did we learn that the economy created over 4.8 million jobs in 2022, we also learned that 2023 is off to a robust start: The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary tally showed 517,000 new jobs in January alone.
Adding to the good news was the unemployment rate: In January 2021, when President Joe Biden was inaugurated, the unemployment rate was 6.3%. It now stands at 3.4% — a level the United States did not reach at any point throughout the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s. In fact, as we discussed on Friday, the last time the jobless rate was this low was May 1969. (We hadn’t yet landed on the moon and Woodstock was still a few months away.)
All told, according to the latest data, the U.S. economy has created over 12 million jobs since January 2021 — nearly double the combined total of the first three years of Donald Trump’s term, when Republicans insisted we were experiencing the single greatest economy in the history of Western civilization.
It was against this backdrop that Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released a written statement in response to the January jobs report. “The Biden-Harris economic agenda has caused nothing but pain and misery for American families,” the RNC chair said.
In other words, the RNC was confronted with evidence that the unemployment rate has fallen to a 54-year low. McDaniel, who was born in 1973, has literally never seen a jobless rate this good. Her first instinct, however, was to respond to the good news by focusing on “pain and misery.”
But as odd as the RNC’s statement was, at least the party was willing to acknowledge the existence of the jobs report — which is more than we can say about congressional Republican leaders.
In keeping with the recent trend, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to the job numbers by saying literally nothing about the good news. No news releases, no tweets and no public comments. They literally found themselves speechless.
This wasn’t the first time. Revisiting our recent coverage, GOP leaders have spent nearly all of the Biden era pretending not to notice extraordinarily good job growth.
Four years ago, when the unemployment rate reached 3.6%, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy saw it as a triumph. Now that the unemployment rate is 3.4%, the California Republican seems reluctant to even recognize the good news.
This post is a revised version of our related earlier coverage.
President Joe Biden will deliver his second State of the Union address on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET. Follow msnbc.com/sotu for live updates and analysis from experts and insiders.