US job growth slows but remains strong

WASHINGTON — Slowing job gains and a growing labor force in March delivered welcome news to President Biden, nearly a year after he announced the job market would need to cool significantly to curb higher prices.

Mr. Job creation 236,000 per month, said last year that it was necessary to stabilize the economy and prices. Biden said. More Americans joined the labor force, and wage gains fell slightly. Those developments will help cool inflation further.

But the report underscores political and economic tensions for the president as he seeks to sell Americans on his economic responsibility ahead of an expected announcement this spring that he is seeking re-election.

Republicans blamed Mr. Criticized Biden. After a year of consistently beating forecasters’ expectations, some analysts warned that job growth could fall sharply or turn negative in the coming months. That’s in part because banks are pulling back on lending after regulators and the Federal Reserve intervened last month to stave off a potential financial crisis.

Surveys show Americans’ views of the economy are improving, but people remain dissatisfied with its performance and pessimistic about its future. A CNN poll conducted in March And seven in 10 Americans rated the economy as somewhat or very bad this week. Three in five expect the economy to be worse in a year.

As he tours the country in preparation for the 2024 campaign, Mr. He regularly visits factories and construction sites in swing states that have generated hundreds of billions of dollars in new investments in infrastructure, low-emission energy, semiconductor manufacturing and more as a direct result of the White House’s legislative agenda.

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On Friday, the president took a similar approach to March employment data. “This is a good jobs report for hard-working Americans,” he said Written reportBefore listing the seven states where companies announced new expansions this week, Mr. Biden tied it to his agenda.

But as he often does, Mr. Biden warned that “there is still work to do” to reduce the high prices that are squeezing workers and families.

The assistants were equally excited. Mr. Lael Brainard, who runs Biden’s National Economic Council, told MSNBC it was a “very good” report.

“Generally the report is consistent with steady and sustainable growth,” Ms. Brainard said. “We’re seeing some moderation — we’re certainly seeing a reduction in inflation, and that’s very welcome.”

But analysts warned that the coming months could bring a sharper decline in hiring as banks pared back loans after the government bailed out depositors at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote on Friday that he expected job gains to slow to just 50,000 in May and the economy to start losing jobs on a net basis in the summer. But he acknowledged that the job market has surprised analysts in a good way, drawing more and more workers back into the labor force.

“Labor demand and supply are moving back into balance,” said Mr. Shepherdson wrote.

Mr. Biden in May last year Wrote monthly job creation An average of 500,000 jobs should drop to below 150,000, he said, which would be “consistent with a low unemployment rate and a healthy economy.”

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Since then, the president has had a complicated relationship with the labor market. Job creation has been much stronger than many forecasters — and Mr. Biden himself — expected. That development Mr. That pleased Biden’s political advisers and helped the economy avoid recession. But that’s accompanied by higher-than-historical inflation, which continues to strain consumers and Mr. Biden’s approval ratings plummet.

The March report showed the political difficulty of reconciling those two economic realities. Analysts called the Federal Reserve’s welcome cooling in job and wage growth part of its campaign to lower inflation by raising interest rates.

But that cooling included a decline of 1,000 manufacturing jobs, for which some groups blamed the central bank. “America’s factories continue to experience the disruptive influence of rising interest rates,” said Scott Paul, president of the trade group Alliance for American Manufacturing. “The Federal Reserve must understand that its policies are undermining our global competitiveness.”

Republicans Mr. They blamed Biden’s fall in wage growth. “Average hourly wages continue to rise The trend is low Even if inflation wipes out nominal wage gains for more than two years,” Republican National Committee rapid response director Tommy Pigot said in a news release.

Jason Smith, Republican of Missouri and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said the report shows that “small businesses and job creators are reacting to dark clouds over the economy.”

In his own publication, Mr. Biden nodded to one of the clouds that could turn into an economic storm this summer: an impasse over raising the nation’s debt ceiling, which could lead to a government default that could force millions of Americans out. Work. For unspecified cost cuts, Mr. Republicans refused to do so until Biden agreed.

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Mr. Biden has refused to negotiate directly on raising the limit. He wrapped up his jobs report on Friday to lay out the strategy of congressional Republicans. “I will stop those efforts to put our economy at risk,” he said.

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