Political writer explains how Republicans ‘literally found themselves speechless’ about June’s positive jobs report

Political writer explains how Republicans ‘literally found themselves speechless’ about June’s positive jobs report

Although inflation continues to be a major source of frustration in the United States and other countries, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) had some good news when, on July 8, they delivered their employment report for June 2022. The U.S., according to the BLS, added 372,000 new jobs in June, and the United States’ unemployment rate remained at 3.6% — which is also what it was in May.

The U.S. it not in a recession — at least not yet. Liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has been stressing that while inflation is a concern, President Joe Biden’s economic policies have been a raging success from an employment standpoint. And similarly, journalist Steve Benen, in an op-ed published by MSNBC’s website for Rachel Maddow’s MaddowBlog on July 11, points out that U.S. unemployment is still lower than it has been in a long time.

“Much of the public probably doesn’t realize that the job market has soared with unexpected and unpredicted strength under Biden, and the unemployment rate is lower now than at any point throughout the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s,” Benen observes. “What’s more, as we discussed last week, the economy has created 2.63 million jobs so far in 2022, and the year is only half-over. By any fair measure, that’s an extraordinary total, more in line with what we’d expect to see in a full year. In fact, more jobs have been created in the last six months than in any full year of Donald Trump’s term.”

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Benen adds, “It was against this backdrop that House and Senate Republican leaders said.... nothing. The GOP has largely decided to pretend not to notice job growth at all.”

Benen goes on to note that instead of trying to put some type of pro-GOP spin on the BLS’ June 2022 jobs report, major Republicans simply ignored the news.

“It seemed at least possible leading Republican officials would argue that Democrats don’t deserve credit for the economic recovery,” Benen writes. “Or perhaps they’d argue that robust job growth was inevitable after the 2020 recession. Maybe they’d even try to say that Trump was somehow responsible for creating economic conditions he had nothing to do with. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy instead ignored the economic news altogether: No press releases, no tweets, and no public comments. They literally found themselves speechless — just like last month and the month before that and the month before that.”

Benen adds that McCarthy was hardly silent about the April 2021 jobs report.

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“In April 2021, the economy created 269,000 jobs,” Benen recalls. “Under normal circumstances, that would’ve constituted a great total, but with the country still climbing out of its pandemic-driven hole, the April 2021 report was a disappointment. Republicans wasted no time in pouncing on the data, blaming Democrats for the shortfall…. The political problem for Republicans is obvious: If a discouraging monthly jobs report is proof that the Democratic economic agenda is a failure, then several months’ worth of encouraging monthly jobs reports is necessarily evidence that the Democratic economic agenda is a success. The more GOP leaders say Biden is directly responsible for the nation’s economic conditions, the easier it is for the Democratic White House to take credit when those conditions look great.”

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