Biden blames disappointing September jobs numbers on season fluctuations, delta fears

The president touted the unemployment rate, which according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, fell below 5% last month
US President Joe Biden speaks about his Build Back Better economic plans after touring McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, Illinois, on July 7, 2021.

President Biden on Friday argued the disappointing September jobs figures are a result of outdated COVID-19 conditions and  season fluctuations in the jobs market.

"Today's report is based on a survey that was taken during the week of September 13. Not today, September the 13th – when Covid cases were average more than 150,000 per day," the president said, about 90 minutes after his scheduled White House address was set to begin. "Since then, we've seen the daily cases fall by more than one-third and they're continuing to trend down, and we're continuing to make progress."

He spoke several hours after the Labor Department said the U.S. economy last month gained 194,000 jobs, compared to the predicted 500,000. The release of the September numbers also marked the second straight month in which the job growth has failed to meet Wall Street projections.  

Biden also said the jobs survey was conducted when COVID-19's highly contagious delta variant was peaking in mid-September when the jobs report survey was conducted and pointed out that the unemployment rate had declined since he took office.

"Today's report has the unemployment rate down to 4.8%, a significant improvement from when I took office and a sign that our recovery is moving forward even in the face of a Covid pandemic," he continued. Biden also noted that unemployment rate for African-Americans had fallen nearly a full percentage point to 7.9%. 

Job growth began to slow down dramatically in August in conjunction with rising inflation. The administration, however, has not acknowledged the issue, and in fact continues to tout the two massive pieces of spending legislation proposed by the problem as likely solves to the jobs crisis facing the country.