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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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February 29, 2024

     President Biden crowed about monthly employment data showing about 187,000 new jobs were created last August — but walked off while ignoring a reporter’s question about data showing most Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck amid high inflation and rising interest rates.  In other words, Biden avoided the whole truth.

     “We’ve recovered all of the jobs lost during the pandemic and we’ve added a million more new jobs,” Biden announced in the White House Rose Garden.  “More than 700,000 people joined the labor force last month, which means the highest share of working-age Americans are in the workforce now than at any time in the past 20 years,” added the president, who counted the nearly 550,000 people who began looking for work without being able to find a job.  Following the remarks, Biden, 80, turned and walked back to the Oval Office as a journalist shouted: “Why are so many Americans living paycheck to paycheck?”  The president did not answer.

     Although jobs growth remained positive, employment gains in last June and July were revised downward by a combined 110,000 — bringing the most recent three-month average to 150,000 new jobs, the lowest number since Biden took office in January 2021 even as more Americans seek work.

     The declining employment growth signals a possible economic slowdown as the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes to tame inflation also restrain consumer and business spending.  Biden insisted that inflation was cooling — reaching an annual rate of 3.2% in July — though US prices remain 17% higher than when he took office.

     About 61% of Americans currently are living paycheck-to-paycheck, meaning they lack savings for potential emergencies, according to a survey by LendingClub published this week.  High Federal Reserve interest rates have created new economic woes by causing the average consumer credit card interest rate to soar to 27.99% — roughly double the 14.6% average when Biden took office.  Average home mortgage rates on a 30-year loan, meanwhile, hit 7.48% last week, the highest since November 2000 and up sharply from 2.65% in January 2021. The spike has caused a steep decline in real estate transactions.  

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