Speaking from the White House on Friday, President Joe Biden praised the October jobs report, which for once didn't fall far short of expectations. He also took the opportunity to demand that the nation spend more via his massive spending packages, which have hit snag after snag in Congress, both from his allies and his detractors.
After substantial losses for Democrats in Tuesday's elections, most notably in the Virginia gubernatorial election, Biden spoke about how "America's getting back to work," this after layoffs and a swath of terminations during an August that saw many Americans fleeing the workplace instead of heading back.
"Thanks to the economic plan we've put through and Congress earlier this year," Biden said, "and a successful vaccine deployment American continues to add jobs at a record pace is historically strong recovery and employment again today, down to 4.6 percent."
Biden praised the jobs numbers specifically for Hispanics, saying that that the numbers included a reduction in unemployment for that ethnic group.
"As included a substantial unemployment for Hispanics, which was much needed. Our economy is on the move this morning," he said.
"We learned that in October our economy created 531,000 well above expectations. We also learned that job growth over the prior two months August and September was nearly 250,000 more jobs than previously thought and total job creation in the first full nine months my administration is about 5.6 million," he said.
"New unemployment claims have fallen every week for the past five weeks are down by more than 60 percent Since I took office and are now at the lowest level since the pandemic started. And people continue to move from unemployment roles to work. Unemployment has increased this year by more than any other year since 1950. So any year since 1950 unemployment has decreased more this year than since 1950," he said.
Biden used this opportunity to press for his spending plans and vaccine plans, saying that "We got more than 220 million shots and arms in my first 100 days. We didn't stop there. Recent months we've started implementing vaccination requirements, which have helped bring the number of unvaccinated adults down in this country from around 100 million several months ago to 60 million now. That's good for our health, but it's also good for our economy. Now vaccinated workers are going back to work. Vaccinated shoppers are going back to stores and with the launch of the vaccine for kids ages five through 11 this week, we can be sure more vaccinated children can stay in school."
He stumbled over his words, before saying that the vaccine plans and the economic plans, "both of them," has made the US "economy the envy of the world. We're the fastest growing major economy and one creating jobs at a faster pace."
To the spikes in inflation, the drastic increases in the cost of food, fuel, and other basics, he said, "We still have to tackle the cost and American families are facing. But this recovery is faster, stronger and fairer and wider than almost anyone could have predicted. That's what the numbers say."
To do that, he said there were needed steps that were taken this week: vaccines for kids, and vaccine requirements for US companies. "These requirements have broad public support," he said, "and they work. Already we see organizations that have adopted vaccination requirements increased vaccination rates by more than often as high as 90 or 90 percent. This is good for the workers," he said, "for their colleagues, for their loved ones and for their communities. It's also good for the economy."
Biden touted economists as experts who are backing vaccine requirements. "We're accelerating our path out of this pandemic," he said.
As to the second method of improving the economy, Biden said it was his Build Back Better Plan, saying that Congress needs to "pass our bipartisan, my bipartisan infrastructure agreement and my Build Back Better plan which have been debated now. And I'm going to be heading over there quickly, shortly after I do this press conference, back to my office, to make some calls."
The octogenarian also brought up his dad, as he likes to day, saying people need "some breathing room." But it wasn't just the economy that Biden was thinking about when he spoke about his massive spending bills, or getting Americans back to work, or lowering food and fuel costs, but climate change, one the big crises that Biden has promised to tackle.
"And by the way," he said, "these two bills add up to the largest effort to combat climate change in the history of the United States of America. Right now, we stand on the cusp of historic economic progress, to build that together will create millions of jobs grow the economy invests our nation, our people, lower costs for families and to climate crisis and opportunity, put us on a path, I don't want to compete, but to win the economic competition in the 21st century against all comers."
"Passing these bills will say clearly to the American people: 'We hear your voices, we are going to invest in your hopes, help you secure a brighter future for yourself and for your families, and make sure that America wins the future in the process."
He issued an ask from the podium for House reps to vote for his bill, and to those in the Senate. Biden left without taking any questions from press, who called out to him.