WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden touted the jobs report released Friday that showed employment growth in August, saying that the U.S. was in one of “the strongest job creating periods in our history.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report said the economy added 187,000 jobs last month, up from an increase of 157,000 jobs in July. The report noted that was less than the average monthly gain of 271,000 jobs over the last 12 months.
The number of unemployed people rose by 514,000, however, an increase of 3.8%, up from 3.5% in July, bringing the total number of people without jobs to 6.4 million. Those numbers were similar to a year earlier, when 6 million people were unemployed, or 3.7 percent of the labor force, the agency said.
The percentage of the population that is employed or looking for work also rose in August by 0.2%, the first increase since March, bringing the rate to 62.8%.
The industries that saw job gains included health care, leisure and hospitality, social assistance and construction, the agency said.
Friday’s speech in the Rose Garden largely mirrored the themes of previous remarks the president and senior administration officials have made during a series of stops across the country this summer to tout the president’s economic agenda. The plan, which they refer to as “Bidenomics,” focuses on making public investments, educating workers and promoting competition, the White House said.
“We came to office determined to build the economy in a different way, from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down,” Biden said, a line he frequently uses in speeches.
Biden has been facing low approval ratings on the economy. An August AP-NORC poll showed just 36% of U.S. adults approved of his handling of the economy, which was lower than the 42% of adults who approved of his overall job as president.
“While I’m proud of the historic legislation my administration has passed and the policies we’ve enacted, the real heroes of this story are the American people, average Americans,” Biden said. “They’re the ones getting up every day, putting their heads down, going out that door and going to work.”
During his remarks, Biden also took aim at the Trump administration, saying former president Donald Trump was one of the only presidents “who entered his presidency and left with fewer jobs than when he entered.”
Biden’s remarks come one day before he is set to travel to Florida to survey damage from Hurricane Idalia. When asked as he departed the Rose Garden whether he would meet with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Biden said yes.