That should be good news Right?
America’s employers extended a streak of robust hiring in March, adding 431,000 jobs in a sign of the economy’s resilience in the face of a still-destructive pandemic and the highest inflation in 40 years.
The Labor Department’s report Friday showed that last month’s job growth helped reduce the unemployment rate to 3.6 percent, the lowest level since the pandemic erupted two years ago.
Despite the inflation surge, persistent supply bottlenecks, the damaging effects of Covid-19 and now a war in Europe, employers have added at least 400,000 jobs for 11 straight months.
Inflation may be starting to weaken consumer spending, the main driver of the economy. Americans increased their spending by just 0.2 percent in February, down from a much larger gain in January.
Still, the job market has continued to rebound with unexpected speed from the coronavirus recession. Job openings are at a near-record level, and applications for unemployment benefits have dropped to near their lowest point since 1969.
The still-solid U.S. job market reflects a robust rebound from the brief but devastating coronavirus recession, which wiped out 22 million jobs in March and April 2020 as businesses shut down or cut hours and Americans stayed home to avoid infection….
The U.S. unemployment rate hit 3.6 percent today, as 431,000 jobs were added during the month of March.
It’s the type of data point that should make a White House giddy. And yet, one can’t help but smell the whiff of frustration emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
There is a remarkable disconnect among the American public involving the reality of the jobs market and the perception of it. A little-noticed survey by Navigator Research last month showed that 37 percent of the public thought that more jobs had been lost (yes, lost) over the last year while just 28 percent thought that they had been gained. That was particularly pronounced among Republicans, 47 percent of whom believed jobs had been lost over the last 12 months.
Needless to say, that’s wildly inaccurate: The unemployment rate was 6.4 percent when JOE BIDEN took office.
That these basic facts aren’t translating to the public says a lot about how news is disseminated and consumed. It’s also an illustration about how difficult it’s been for the White House to communicate its successes in light of the setbacks that have come along too.
Inflation continues to blot out most everything else politically, even on solid jobs report days. While Friday’s survey showed strong wage gains of 5.6 percent over the past year, those numbers, as the Washington Post’s HEATHER LONG noted, are “still well below inflation,” which is at 7.9 percent. (That balance suggests we’re not yet in a full-blown upward spiral of wages and prices, but the risks are rising.)
This is not a U.S. phenomenon, as the administration frequently notes. It’s gripping Europe and others too. But political opponents don’t operate in the world of nuance and global context. And Republicans have been eager to lay it all at the feet of Biden, the major Covid relief bill he helped push early in his presidency, and the energy policies he’s pursued in office.
An official with the National Republican Congressional Committee told me this week that of the 30 unique digital ad campaigns that the group has run this cycle, “probably 28 of them” dealt with cost increases for goods and services; an astounding 93 percent….