By Kate Sullivan, CNN
President Joe Biden on Friday touted America’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic after the US added 850,000 jobs in June.
“This is historic progress. Pulling our economy out of the worst crisis in 100 years. Driven in part by our dramatic progress in vaccinating our nation and beating back the pandemic,” Biden said at the White House.
The US economy added far more jobs in June than economists had expected. The strong jobs numbers are a signal American job growth is accelerating as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
The unemployment rate, however, stood at 5.9%, up from 5.8% in May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
The hospitality and leisure sector had the strongest growth and added 343,000 jobs in June. More than half of those jobs were at restaurants and bars.
The President argued for the passage of the roughly $1 trillion infrastructure proposal that he and a bipartisan group of senators agreed on last week and a more sweeping, multi-trillion dollar social safety net expansion.
“We have a chance to seize this economic momentum of the first months of my administration — not just to build back, but as I’ve been saying, build back better. … This much is already clear: We’re on track, and we’re on the right track. Our plan is working. And we’re not going to let up now,” Biden said.
The President said the progress in the US’s economic recovery was a direct result of the American Rescue Plan, the President’s massive $1.9 trillion Covid-19 emergency relief package that passed through Congress without any Republican support.
“And at the time, people questioned whether or not we should do that, even though we don’t have bipartisan support. Well, it worked,” Biden said.
The comments come as Democrats are looking to pass legislation expanding the social safety net using the same budget reconciliation procedure that would allow them to pass it with only votes from Democratic lawmakers.
Biden said the US still had more work to do to get the rest of the US population vaccinated against Covid-19 and get more Americans back to work.
“But this is testament to our commitment to grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out,” Biden said.
The President said: “More jobs, better wages. That’s a good combination. Put simply: Our economy is on the move, and we have Covid-19 on the run.”
Biden traveled to Wisconsin earlier this week to tout the bipartisan infrastructure deal, which would total $1.2 trillion over eight years, and argued the investments would benefit working and middle-class families around the country.
It was the President’s first time pitching the bipartisan infrastructure proposal to the American people since nearly derailing the deal in off-the-cuff remarks last week. While speaking to reporters at the White House, Biden said he wouldn’t sign the bill he had just negotiated unless another sweeping proposal of Democratic priorities landed on his desk as well.
The White House spent days working behind the scenes to assure Republicans that Biden would support the deal, and the President then issued a lengthy statement over the weekend clarifying his remarks and said he would not veto the bill.
This story has been updated with additional information.
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