President Joe Biden pointed the finger at the delta variant following an underwhelming August jobs report on Friday and tried to shift the focus onto his “Build Back Better” agenda.
The U.S. economy added just 235,000 jobs in August, falling far short of economists’ prediction of 720,000 for the month. Economists have pointed out that the delta variant could affect the economy, with cases surging and restrictions being re-implemented for fully vaccinated Americans.
Biden briefly acknowledged the lackluster report, noting that he was hoping to see “a larger number.” Still, the president highlighted adding “jobs in every single one of” his “first seven jobs report.”
“Some wanted to see a larger number today, and so did I,” Biden said. “But what we’ve seen is continued growth month after month. We’ve added jobs in every single one of my first seven jobs reports … This is the kind of growth that makes our economy stronger. Consistent progress, not boom or bust.”
The president echoed economists’ concerns about the delta variant, saying this was the reason for the low numbers. He once again referred to COVID-19 as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” while calling his economic plan “durable and strong.”
“Even in the face of this continuing delta surge, a strength in our economy very different from the way things were last winter. There’s no question the delta variant is why today’s jobs report isn’t stronger. I know people were looking and I was hoping for a higher number,” Biden said.
Biden promised to continue protecting businesses and schools from the delta variant, calling the “fight against COVID … far different from the fight we were waging last winter.” Biden soon turned to his “Build Back Better” agenda, calling on Congress to “finish the job of passing” his “economic agenda.”
The president said doing so would “keep up the historic momentum we’ve been building these last seven months.”
“The house and Senate have to advance my Build Back Better agenda,” Biden said, referring to the massive spending bill. “That bill contains critical investments in child care, to make it easier for families to be able go to work and assure their child is being take care of. And home care for seniors. The polling data shows among your generation … your greatest concern is carried for your elderly parent, even more than your child. It’s about paid leave.”
Biden also addressed climate change, promising to build a “clean energy future” in the way of multiple natural disasters affecting America. He backed his agenda repeatedly throughout the speech, downplaying the underwhelming report and promising that his plan is working. (RELATED: US Labor Shortage Surges To New Record High As Unemployment Remains Elevated)