White House downplays surprising February jobs gain, warns US far from recovery

Top White House officials took little solace in the better-than-expected February jobs report, insisting Friday that the U.S. was far fro...

Top White House officials took little solace in the better-than-expected February jobs report, insisting Friday that the U.S. was far from a full and equitable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The February jobs report released Friday showed the U.S. gaining 379,000 jobs last month, nearly double the consensus estimates of economists. The unemployment rate also dropped 0.1 percentage points to 6.2 percent, its lowest level since March 2020, as businesses prepared for a post-pandemic world.

President BidenJoe BidenTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot FireEye finds evidence Chinese hackers exploited Microsoft email app flaw since January Biden officials to travel to border amid influx of young migrants MORE’s top advisers, however, sought to spotlight how much economic damage the U.S. needs to repair and shortcomings of the rebound so far as Democrats push a $1.9 trillion aid bill through Congress.

“If you think today’s jobs report is ‘good enough,’ then know that at this pace … it would take until April 2023 to get back to where we were in February 2020,” tweeted White House chief of staff Ron KlainRon KlainKlain on Harris breaking tie: ‘Every time she votes, we win’ Murkowski never told White House she would oppose Tanden Who is the Senate parliamentarian and why is she important? MORE

Even with February’s gain, the U.S. is still 9.5 million jobs short of replacing those lost to the pandemic, and 18 million Americans are on some form of jobless aid, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate has also been artificially depressed by the exit of nearly 5 million Americans from the workforce since the onset of the pandemic.

Cecilia RouseCecilia RouseCBC ‘unequivocally’ endorses Shalanda Young for White House budget chief The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Senate Dems face unity test; Tanden nomination falls On The Money: Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief | Relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority | Senate confirms Biden’s picks for Commerce, top WH economist MORE, chair of Biden’s White House Council of Economic Advisers, highlighted in a Friday analysis how Black and Hispanic women have suffered the greatest declines in labor force participation. 

“Black women were only 14 percent of the female labor force in February 2020, but have accounted for a disproportionate 26 percent of female labor force dropouts since then,” she wrote. “Hispanic women were only 17 percent of the female labor force in February 2020 but have accounted for 27 percent of the female labor force dropouts.”

The White House’s concerns are shared broadly by economists, who are generally optimistic in the economy’s prospects for 2021 but concerned about the depth of damage yet to be repaired.

“The pace of job growth in February was a pleasant surprise, but it is still too early to get excited,” wrote Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed.com.

“At this pace, it will take about four and a half years to get back to where the labor market would have been without the pandemic. Millions of Americans out of work do not have that time,” Bunker wrote.

Even so, Republicans — who are almost unanimously opposed to Biden’s relief bill — touted the surprising February jobs gain as proof the recovery is well underway.

“America’s hard work and perseverance during the challenges of the last year are finally being realized, and more Americans are being vaccinated,” said Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGarland’s AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks Biden reignites war powers fight with Syria strike Bipartisan group of senators introduces bill to rein in Biden’s war powers MORE (R-Utah), former chairman of the Joint Economic Committee. “With a third vaccine now available for distribution, expectations are set for a record recovery from the pandemic-induced recession.” 

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Newsrust - US Top News: White House downplays surprising February jobs gain, warns US far from recovery
White House downplays surprising February jobs gain, warns US far from recovery
Newsrust - US Top News
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