Biden says November “grim” jobs report shows “economy stalling” and “urgent action” is required

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U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Friday said the the November ‘grim’ jobs report shows “an economy that is stalling” and an urgent action is required from Congress.

“It confirms we remain in the midst of one of the worst economic and jobs crises in modern history,” Biden said in a statement.

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“The situation requires urgent action. Americans need help and they need it now. I am encouraged by the bipartisan efforts in the Senate around a $900 billion relief package. In the weeks since the election ended, there were questions about whether Democrats and Republicans could work together. Right now, they are showing they can. Congress and President Trump must get a deal done for the American people,” Biden said.

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“But any package passed in the lame duck session is not enough. It’s just the start,” he said, adding that Congress will need to act again in January.

The report released on Friday shows that the American economic recovery continues to slow, with millions of people who were thrown out of work because of the coronavirus still unemployed.

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The Labor Department reported on Friday that employers added 245,000 jobs in November, the fifth month in a row that the pace of hiring has slowed. For October, the figure was revised downward to 610,000 from 638,000.

The unemployment rate in November was 6.7 percent, down from 6.9 percent. But the number does not include people who have dropped out of the labor force and are not actively searching for work.

Biden said millions of people have lost their jobs or had their hours slashed. Many of them have also lost their health insurance or are in risk of losing it.

He said: “One in six renters are behind rent. One in four small businesses can’t keep their doors open. An ongoing gap in Black and Latino unemployment remains too large. And, it’s deeply troubling that last month’s drop in overall unemployment in this report was driven by people dropping out of the labor market altogether — they’ve lost hope for finding a job or they’ve taken on full-time caregiving responsibilities as child care centers remain closed and their children learn remotely. Over the last three months, 2.3 million more people are in long-term unemployment, by far the largest increase on record.

“This dire jobs report is a snapshot from mid-November, before the surge in COVID cases and deaths in December as we head into a dark winter. Just in October, cities are down 21,000 educators just as schools need more help in the fight against the pandemic. And if Congress and President Trump fail to act, by the end of December, 12 million Americans will lose the unemployment benefits they rely on to keep food on the table and pay their bills. Emergency paid leave will end. The moratorium on evictions will expire. States and cities will lose vital tools they need to help pay for testing and public health workers to fight COVID, to keep children and educators safe in schools, and to provide assistance to keep small businesses alive. 

“The situation requires urgent action. Americans need help and they need it now. I am encouraged by the bipartisan efforts in the Senate around a $900 billion relief package. In the weeks since the election ended, there were questions about whether Democrats and Republicans could work together. Right now, they are showing they can. Congress and President Trump must get a deal done for the American people.

“But any package passed in the lame duck session is not enough. It’s just the start.

“Congress will need to act again in January. As we inherit this economic crisis, Vice President-elect Harris and I are working on the plan we will put forward for the next Congress to move fast and control the pandemic, revive the economy, and build back better than before. And, we hope to see the same kind of spirit of bipartisan cooperation as we are seeing today.

“There is no time to lose. Times are tough. But I know we can do this. There’s nothing beyond our capacity if we work together as one nation.”

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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