Biden Chides Trump for Jobs Numbers, Saying Recovery Is Unequal

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden chided President Donald Trump for the August jobs report that showed modest gains, saying only wealthy people are feeling the recovery while many are still suffering.

Biden slammed the president for mismanaging the virus and prolonging the economic recession, and he argued the economy would not fully recover until the country could bring the coronavirus under control.

“I am grateful for everyone who found work again and found a glimmer of hope that brings them back from the edge,” Biden said in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware. “But there is real cause for concern, too.”

Friday’s job report beat estimates as the unemployment rate dropped to 8.4%, almost 2 percentage points lower than expected. But the U.S. still leads the world in coronavirus cases and deaths, as more than 185,000 Americans have died from the virus.

Trump celebrated the report on Twitter on Friday morning.

“Wow, much better than expected!” Trump wrote. “Broke the 10% level faster and deeper than thought possible.”

Still, the report had warning signs as the pandemic persists and congressional leaders spar over future economic relief packages. The number of permanent job losses rose by more than half a million and gains in the leisure and hospitality industries that spurred job growth in the past few months cooled significantly.

Trump had planned to run for re-election on a strong economy but that was devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. But the report will likely bolster Trump’s argument that he is best positioned to lead an economic recovery. The president has often polled better than Biden on economic issues.

The former vice president expressed concern that the crisis was exacerbating economic inequities, particularly for communities of color. Biden called on Trump to bring together congressional leaders to pass new relief packages to help Americans struggling to pay rent and buy groceries. He also said no American should have their water or electricity cut off because they can’t afford to pay their bills during the pandemic.

“The economic pain remains unrelenting for millions of working people of every race and background who aren’t getting the relief they need,” he said. “Meanwhile the wealthy are doing just fine, if not better than ever.”

Citing economists, Biden said the recovery is K-shaped, as the wealthy see improvement as middle- and lower-income Americans continue to struggle. That recovery, Biden argued, mirrored Trump’s presidential agenda, which focused on tax cuts for the wealthy and largely ignored the middle class.

Biden, touting the plans he has rolled out over the last several months to contain the virus and safely reopen the economy and schools, said he would spend the next three weeks focused on drawing a contrast with the president.

“Trump may well be the only president in modern history to leave office with fewer jobs than when he took office,” he said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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