US President Joe Biden notices the end of the war in Afghanistan in the State Dining Room of the White House August 31, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
President Joe Biden blamed the coronavirus pandemic for surprisingly weak employment reports on Friday, calling on Americans who have yet to be vaccinated amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Non-farm payrolls only increased by 235,000 in August, the Labor Department reported, well below the 720,000 new employees predicted by economists. The report shows the smallest monthly jobs since January.
“There is no doubt that the Delta version of today’s jobs report is not solid,” Biden told the White House shortly after the big data was released.
Biden, who has focused his first phase in the White House on the pandemic, said: “We need to make more progress in tackling the delta version.”
Millions of eligible Americans still have not received a single dose of the COVID vaccine, despite a government-led vaccination campaign. Biden said the group is prolonging the pandemic and contributing to concerns affecting the economy.
“This is an ongoing epidemic of unconnected people,” the president said. “A lot of people haven’t been vaccinated, and it’s causing a lot of unease in our economy and around our kitchen tables.”
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 64% of American adults, or about 175 million people, are fully immunized.
Children under 12 are still not eligible to receive injections; Pfizer-BioNtech’s two-shot COVID vaccine, which has received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration, is only available to people 16 years of age and older.
Biden acknowledged the report’s low numbers – “I expected a higher number,” he said. But he always defended the economic progress that America experienced under his administration.
“We are witnessing a sustainable and strong economic recovery. The Biden plan is working. We are getting results.
The president pointed to the reduction in the unemployment rate to 5.2% in the latest report from 6.3% in January.
He also spoke of new measures to be taken by the White House next week to counter the delta version, suggesting that the action will focus on protecting schools, businesses, families and the economy from the virus.
The spread of the delta variant has led to another massive increase in COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths across the country, with southern states particularly affected. Florida has a higher Covid hospitalization rate than anywhere else in the United States, and this week broke its record for the largest single-day increase in deaths, 1,338 reported Thursday.
Some experts predict that another peak is in store for the Northeast.
“Now that we see the wave of infections as dense and severe as in the south, I don’t think that will happen because we have a lot of vaccinations; we already have a lot of infections, which we also know are protective ”, doctor. Scott Gottlieb, who served as FDA chief for two years under then-President Donald Trump, told CNBC on Friday.
“But we’ll probably see a build-up of cases here in the northeast,” he said. “I don’t think we’re done with this.”