President Trump on Thursday wasted no time in praising June’s jobs report as “historic” and proof that the “economy is roaring back” after being flattened by the coronavirus pandemic.
But presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden charged just a couple of hours later: “Trump wants to declare this health crisis over and unemployment solved. Unfortunately, he’s deadly wrong on both fronts.”
TRUMP TOUTS 'HISTORIC' JUNE JOBS REPORT
As the coronavirus swept the nation in March, most Americans were forced to huddle in their homes to prevent the spread of the disease. The outbreak sparked a massive economic downturn, with more than 40 million people filing first-time unemployment claims, surging the jobless rate to levels not seen since the Great Depression nearly a century ago.
The president touted the “historic numbers” in the Thursday’s jobs report, which saw the nation’s unemployment level drop to 11.1 percent in June – as employers added 4.8 million jobs. Nearly 8 million jobs have been restored over the past two months.
"I'd like to just announce the spectacular news for American workers and for American families and our country as whole," Trump started.
With an eye toward the November general election, when the president is running for a second term in the White House, Trump then said, ”You’re going to have a fantastic third quarter."
"It will be a third quarter the likes of which we’ve never seen before, in my opinion," he continued. "And the good thing is the numbers will be coming out just prior to the election, so people will be able to see those numbers.”
Biden acknowledged that Thursday report “is positive news and I’m thankful for it for real.”
But the former vice president also argued, “Make no mistake, we’re still in a deep, deep, job hole because Donald Trump has so badly bungled the response to the coronavirus and now has basically given up on responding at all.”
He claimed that a million more Americans “would still have their job if Donald Trump had done his job. Many of the jobs that have now come back should have never been lost in the first place. And for everyone who’s job hasn’t come back, for everyone who doesn’t own stock, who can’t get a sweetheart loan through connections, does this feel like a victory?”
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Biden noted that only a third of the jobs lost in March and April have returned and stressed that “most of those jobs that returned are people on temporary furlough. That means these were the easiest jobs to get back as we reopened cities and states. It’s only going to get harder from here though.”
Following the president’s lead the past two months, many states started relaxing social distancing and other restrictions in order to jump-start the economy. Forty-five of the 50 states are now experiencing a rise in coronavirus cases. And many of the states that heeded Trump’s advice – among them Arizona, Texas and Florida – are now experiencing a surge in new cases. Many of these states have paused or rolled back efforts to loosen restrictions to jump-start the economy.
Biden emphasized that the new unemployment report “measures job gains as of June the 12th. In days since, we’ve seen cases spiking around the country. Some businesses closed down again. Some states re-imposed restrictions. And in the last two weeks we’ve seen almost 3 million new unemployment filings and another 1.7 million people seeking pandemic unemployment insurance.”
“There’s no victory to be celebrated. We should hope but there’s no victory to be celebrated. We’re still down nearly 15 million jobs and the pandemic is getting worse, not better,” Biden argued.
And taking aim at the president, he highlighted that “millions of Americans are still out of work wondering when or if their job will come back. They’re worried about how to pay the bills in the meantime. Trump wants to declare this health crisis over and unemployment solved. Unfortunately he’s deadly wrong on both fronts.”
The most recent Fox News national poll, conducted two weeks ago, indicated the president’s overall approval is underwater at 44 percent, with 55 percent disapproval. But voters had a more positive impression of how he’s handled the economy, at 49 percent approval and 46 percent disapproval.
A USA Today/Suffolk University national poll conducted over the past week indicated voters believed Biden would do a better job handling every major issue except the economy, where the Republican president had a 47-45 percent edge over his Democratic challenger.