President Biden’s claims on the US economy fact-checked


By Jake Horton
BBC Reality Check

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Joe Biden and Kamala Harrisimage copyrightGetty Images

President Joe Biden says the US economy has made historic progress since he came into office in January, despite lower-than-expected job figures in April.

We’ve looked at some of his claims and put the latest economic numbers into context.

Joe Biden: ‘We’ve created more than 1.5 million jobs… the most in the first 100 days of any president on record’

Since January, the US economy has added 1,572,000 jobs, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And it’s true that this is the most jobs created in the first 100 days of any presidency since records began in 1939.

But this job growth comes from a low base point given that in April last year, unemployment hit its highest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

More than 22 million jobs were lost in the space of two months due to the impact of coronavirus.

But in contrast to Mr Trump’s first few months, President Biden has benefited from a sharp rebound in economic activity after the contraction caused by the pandemic.

Job growth by president

Joe Biden: ‘The three months before I got here, our country was creating roughly 60,000 jobs a month… we’ve been creating on average 500,000 jobs per month’

This is true, although the latest job numbers for April were less than predicted, when just 266,000 jobs were added.

The economy has continued to bounce back from the pandemic under President Biden. More than 530,000 jobs were added in February and 770,000 in March.

In the final few months of the Trump presidency, job growth was around 63,000 a month, on average.

The economy gained millions of jobs in Mr Trump’s final nine months in office following the initial Covid crash – peaking at almost five million in June.

But towards the end of his tenure, job growth dipped as infections rose again and some states re-imposed Covid restrictions.

US job growth

Economists expected this number to rise again in April after a huge stimulus package, proposed by President Biden, was passed by the US Congress in March.

There are still more than eight million fewer jobs in the US than when the pandemic began.

Joe Biden: ‘In the first quarter, our economy grew at a 6.4% rate – outpacing growth we are seeing from our friends in the eurozone’

The US economy continued to recover in the first three months of this year, growing at an annualised rate of 6.4%, up from 4.3% in the final three months of 2020.

US GDP since 2012

Many European countries have had to re-impose Covid restrictions following a renewed surge in infections this year, which has had an impact on businesses.

The BBC’s economics correspondent, Andrew Walker, says: “The US has experienced a stronger rebound than most developed economies. That said, the country is still suffering the economic effects of the health crisis.

“In the most recent GDP figures, the economy was still behind the level of activity at the end of 2019, the pre-pandemic peak, by 0.9%.”

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