Biden Laments ‘Grim’ November Jobs Data in Push for New Stimulus

President-elect Joe Biden called the November jobs report “grim” and said it shows “there’s no time to lose” for Congress to pass a new Covid relief bill.

Friday’s jobs report raised the odds that Biden would inherit an even weaker labor market next year as the number of daily Covid-19 cases and deaths also reach new highs. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 245,000 in November, a decline from October’s number of 610,000 and well below economists’ estimates.

The U.S. labor-market rebound slowed markedly in November, indicating the surge in Covid-19 cases is hitting workers and curbing the broader economic recovery.

“It shows an economy that is stalling,” the president-elect said. “But it doesn’t have to stay that way. If we act now, and by now I mean now, we can begin to regain momentum and start to build back a better future. There’s no time to lose.”

Biden acknowledged that the unemployment rate dropped to 6.7%, but added it was “deeply troubling” that the decline was driven by people dropping out of the labor market.

He said he was confident that Congress would pass a “serious package to keep us from going off the edge.” But he also declined to outline the path to that agreement: “The last thing I’m going to do is tell you strategically how I’m going to go about this.”

He did endorse direct payments of $1,200 to individuals but suggested a lesser amount wouldn’t be a deal-breaker. “If you insist on everything, you’re likely to get nothing,” he said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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