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Economy

Joe Biden, captain, US Economy
Illustration by WhoWhatWhy from US Coast Guard Academy / Flickr (PDM 1.0 DEED) and Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED).

The US economy keeps defying expert predictions by adding massive numbers of jobs.

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Defying expectations of a slowdown in hiring, the US economy keeps adding massive numbers of jobs month after month. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nonfarm payrolls increased by 303,000 in March. That job growth was significantly higher than experts had predicted. 

The unemployment rate dipped slightly to 3.8 percent, which means it has now been below 4 percent for 26 months straight. That is the longest such streak since the 1960s.

The latest increase in payrolls was driven by job gains in health care (72,000 new jobs) and construction (39,000 new jobs) as well as by government hiring (71,000 new jobs). 

In addition, BLS reported that employment in the leisure and hospitality sector (up 49,000 in March) has returned to its pre-pandemic level from early 2020. 

In addition, February’s job gains were revised upwards to 270,000.

All of these figures indicate that, in spite of a slew of interest increases to curb rampant inflation over the past couple of years, the US economy may be able to avoid a recession. 

Usually, higher borrowing costs might make employers reconsider hiring new workers, but the monthly unemployment statistics show that this has not been the case at all.

In theory, this is good news for President Joe Biden.

With the economy shaping up to be one of the main issues in the upcoming election, he needs to make the case that his plan of growing the economy from the bottom up instead of from the top down is working. 

However, polling shows that Americans are skeptical after suffering through unusually high price increases over the past years. 

Although inflation was a global problem, Republicans are trying to pin this problem solely on Biden, and polls show that this strategy is working.

When it comes to the economy, American voters favor Donald Trump over Biden by a substantial margin.

These figures have experts scratching their heads because, by most measures, the US economy is performing very well right now. 

Following the height of the pandemic, it has added millions of jobs since Biden took office, and the stock market is up significantly. 

That being said, presidents either get too much credit or too much blame for how the economy does because many of the factors that dictate its performance are out of their control.

For example, it would be unfair to blame Trump for the massive job losses that were the result of employers laying off their workers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the same time, suggesting that Biden is at fault for inflation is equally ridiculous. 

Still, tying the president to the higher prices that Americans had to pay for everyday items like groceries and gas has been a winning strategy for the GOP and, along with immigration, will be the central theme of their fall campaign. 

Biden and the Democrats, on the other hand, have to hope that the economy will perform in a way that makes not only experts happy but also regular Americans.

Author

  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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