President Biden said more action must be taken to stop rising inflation after a Labor Department report showed mixed results for the job market.
He acknowledged the crisis that inflation has imposed on Americans and called on Republicans to help solve the problem.
“There is no question that inflation and high prices are challenging families across the country and fighting inflation is a top priority for me,” Biden said in a statement. “There is more work to do. I encourage Republicans in Congress to join us in our efforts to lower prices for families across the country by doing more in America, strengthening our supply chains, and lowering energy and prescription drug costs.”
Republicans have blamed Biden’s policies — namely pumping another $1.9 trillion of COVID-19 aid into the economy last year — for fueling inflation.
Biden blamed the rising costs on Russia’s war against Ukraine, even though prices had risen steadily before the February 24 invasion.
The report, released on Friday, found that the US economy added 428,000 jobs in April, marking the 12th straight month of job growth above 400,000. It also showed that the unemployment rate remained at 3.6%, the lowest level in almost 50 years.
“Our plans and policies have produced the strongest job-creating economy in modern times,” Biden said. “The unemployment rate now stands at 3.6%, the fastest decline in unemployment to start a president’s term ever recorded.”
Although the economy added more than the 391,000 jobs that Wall Street analysts had forecast, it is about the same number as in March, suggesting that the US economic recovery still has some way to go.
However, the average hourly wage for workers increased by 0.3% in April compared to the previous month. It also grew at a slower pace than the 0.5% recorded in March.
The stifled wage growth shows that even if workers are participating in the economy, it has not translated into prosperity for the working and middle classes.
Rising prices, fueled by record inflation, wiped out much of the wage gains of American workers. Food, housing and gasoline costs have driven inflation to the highest level in 40 years, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics said last month.
Consumer prices rose 8.5% in March, the fastest rate of inflation since 1981 and negating most wage increases.