Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that nonfarm payroll employment increased by 531,000 in October and the unemployment rate declined to 4.6%, a new pandemic-era low. The unemployment rate was 7.9% for Black workers, 5.9% for Hispanic workers and 4.2% for Asian workers.
“Today’s strong jobs gains—which exceeded analysts’ expectations—are another indication that the United States is on the right track.
“As vaccination rates continue to increase and the Delta wave—which ravaged unvaccinated communities—subsides, U.S. workers are returning to the labor force, businesses are hiring and resuming more normal operations and our nation is continuing full steam ahead to building back better.
“In just nine months, we have created 5.6 million jobs, an average of 620,000 jobs created each month. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.6%, a new pandemic-era low, and yesterday, we learned unemployment claims dropped for the fifth week in a row, reaching their lowest levels in nearly 20 months. They are now down 68% since President Biden took office. GDP has now surpassed its pre-pandemic peak, making the U.S. the only nation among its peer countries to reach this milestone.
“Our recovery has not been without its challenges. We see them today, as decades of underinvestment in public infrastructure and short-termism in the private sector strained our supply chains. The post-pandemic surge in demand pushed them beyond their capacity. Supply chain troubles are not over, but American workers and firms are answering the call, with large jobs gains in transportation, manufacturing, and warehousing.
“Our growing economy continues to draw even more Americans back into the workforce, highlighting the historic opportunity we have before us to build an economy in which economic growth is stronger, stable and more broadly shared.
“Democrats in Congress are leading the charge to capitalize on the strength of this recovery to propel our country forward. With the Build Back Better Act, we will build economic resilience and advance shared prosperity through investments in our families and our workers, and we will build climate resilience through investments in clean energy and environmental justice. Combined with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, we will create 1.5 million jobs per year on average and increase GDP by nearly $3 trillion over the next ten years, boosting labor force participation and propelling us toward full employment.
“Together, these historic pieces of legislation will build a solid foundation for this recovery and for a prosperous and resilient economy that can weather whatever challenges await us.”