It was on Friday morning when the latest job numbers were released, and it was a few hours later when President Joe Biden celebrated the good news during remarks at the White House.
“We added 250,000 jobs last month, that’s on top of the 12 million jobs we’ve already added just since we came in office a little over two years ago,” the Democrat boasted. Biden went on to note that the overall unemployment rate is at a half-century low, the unemployment rate among Black workers has reached an all-time low, and working-age women are participating in the labor force at the highest rate in 75 years.
One day after the president took an understandable victory lap, the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll pointed to data that no doubt disappointed the incumbent.
Biden inherited from Trump an economy badly damaged by the coronavirus pandemic, but the public sees the former president as a better economic steward than the incumbent. In the poll, by 54 percent to 36 percent, Americans say Trump did a better job handling the economy when he was president than Biden has done during his presidency so far.
There are, to be sure, a variety of reasons that contribute to results like these — most notably Americans’ frustration with high inflation — which help obscure the fact that Trump’s economic record just wasn’t that impressive.
But it’s also notable that Republican leaders have helped downplay the significance of good economic news by completely ignoring it, making it more likely that much of the public simply hasn’t heard about the developments.
As we discussed on Friday, in January 2021, when Biden was inaugurated, the unemployment rate was 6.3%. Now, it’s 3.4% — a level the United States did not reach at any point throughout the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s. Before this year, the last time the jobless rate reached a figure this low was May 1969. (We hadn’t yet landed on the moon and Woodstock was still a few months away.)
What’s more, over the course of the first three years of Donald Trump’s presidency — when the Republican said the United States’ economy was the greatest in the history of the planet — the economy created roughly 6.35 million jobs, spanning all of 2017, 2018 and 2019.
According to the latest tally, the U.S. economy has created nearly 13.2 million jobs since January 2021 — roughly double the combined total of Trump’s first three years.
In keeping with the recent trend, House Speaker 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 was hardly new: The GOP leadership in both chambers has spent nearly all of the Biden era pretending not to notice extraordinarily good job growth.
Exactly four years ago this week, when the unemployment rate reached 3.6%, 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 revises our related earlier coverage.