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Biden admin says strong job growth shows his economic policies working

By Jake Beardslee · January 5, 2024

In brief…

  • December jobs report shows continued economic resilience
  • 216,000 jobs added, beating expectations
  • Unemployment steady at 3.7%, wage growth exceeds inflation
  • Strong job growth could impact Fed interest rate policy
The December jobs report showed the labor market remaining strong with 216,000 jobs added, beating expectations, even as past months' gains were revised downward.  President Joe Biden/Wikimedia

The December jobs report released Friday showed the U.S. economy continuing its resilience despite high inflation and interest rate hikes intended to bring prices down. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. added 216,000 jobs and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7% in December. This beat economists’ expectations of around 170,000 jobs added.

“Overall, solid headline numbers, but some of the dynamics under the hood are more worrying,” wrote Martha Gimbel, a research scholar at Yale Law School, according to The Hill. She pointed to downward revisions of past job gains as an area of concern. November’s initially reported gain of 150,000 was revised down to 105,000, and an October gain of 199,000 was revised down to 173,000.

Nevertheless, the Biden administration touted the report as evidence of economic strength. “With a total of 2.7 million new jobs created, 2023 was a year that beat economic expectations by every metric,” said House Budget Committee Ranking Member Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), adding “President Biden and Democrats will keep working to lower costs and get working families more breathing room.”

Private sector earnings rose 0.4% in December, and the average hourly wage has gone up 4.1% over the past year, exceeding the 3.1% inflation rate in November. The unemployment rate has now been below 4% for the longest stretch since the mid-1960s.

The first jobs report of 2024 comes with Biden trying to convince voters he has handled the economy well despite high inflation. The continued strength of job growth helps his case, even as revisions show past months’ gains weren’t as high as first reported.