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Both Biden and Republicans take credit for July job creation

The U.S. economy added nearly 1 million jobs for the month of July, and both Democrats and Republicans are taking credit for it.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly jobs report Friday showing the economy added 943,000 nonfarm jobs last month. 

“The unemployment rate declined by 0.5 percentage point to 5.4 percent in July, and the number of unemployed persons fell by 782,000 to 8.7 million,” BLS said. “These measures are down considerably from their highs at the end of the February-April 2020 recession. “

“Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, in local government education, and in professional and business services,” BLS added.

The numbers are not entirely reflective of the job situation before the pandemic, though, because 1.6 million people reported being unable to work because of the pandemic. Since they are technically unable to pursue employment, they are not counted in the unemployment totals. 

Despite the job gains, unemployment figures still remain much higher than pre-pandemic levels. In February of last year, before the pandemic led to government shutdowns and massive layoffs, the unemployment rate was at 3.5% with 5.7 million unemployed.

“Among the unemployed, the number of persons on temporary layoff fell by 572,000 to 1.2 million in July,” BLS said. “This measure is down considerably from the high of 18.0 million in April 2020 but is 489,000 above the February 2020 level. The number of permanent job losers declined by 257,000 to 2.9 million in July but is 1.6 million higher than in February 2020. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) decreased by 560,000 in July to 3.4 million but is 2.3 million higher than in February 2020.”

The White House has honed in on the job gains, though, and was quick to call it “President Biden’s economy” after the promising data was released. Biden declared victory after the jobs report came out Friday

“We’ve made historic economic progress and created more jobs than any administration has done in the first six months of being in office,” Biden said. “Now, we have a chance to turn this great movement into an economy that works for all Americans – not just the wealthy.”

Republicans took credit for the jobs boon as well. Republicans around the country have been highly critical of ongoing federal unemployment benefits, $300 in weekly additional benefits created during the pandemic in response to joblessness during COVID. The federal weekly payout is on top of state benefits.

As the pandemic’s effects waned earlier this year, though, the federal benefits continued. Meanwhile, unemployment remained elevated despite widespread job availability. Republicans argued the benefits are preventing workers from going back to work.

A Morning Consult survey from July reported that 1.8 million unemployed Americans had rejected job offers, saying they did not want to lose unemployment benefits.

As a result, more than two dozen states around the nation – almost all Republican-led states – announced they would turn away the benefits in recent months. Now that jobs are coming back, Republicans are taking credit.

“Thanks in part to Republican governors removing the Biden work barrier that pays the jobless more to stay home than to work, the July jobs report finally met expectations – although the President’s jobs deficit still remains high at 298,000 and Main Street businesses are still struggling to find workers,” U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said. “The labor force participation rate still hasn’t improved in 2021, which is a red flag for tepid growth ahead. And while we will get the full data in mid-August, it appears rising prices will continue to beat wage growth for a seventh consecutive month, meaning inflation under President Biden will continue to shrink the purchasing power of families.”

Those job gains, though, have not been evenly distributed.

“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates declined in July for adult men (5.4 percent), adult women (5.0 percent), Whites (4.8 percent), Blacks (8.2 percent), and Hispanics (6.6 percent),” BLS said. “The jobless rates for teenagers (9.6 percent) and Asians (5.3 percent) showed little change over the month.”

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