U.S. President Joe Biden said Friday the nation’s economy is at full strength as he praised a new report showing the economy added 431,000 jobs in March, lowering the unemployment rate to 3.6%.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Biden said the U.S. economy is “no longer on the mend, it’s on the move,” noting the unemployment rate was at 6.4% when he took office roughly 15 months ago.
He said the drop to 3.6% was the fastest-ever decline in unemployment to start a president’s term.
In its report Friday, the U.S. Labor Department also revised its employment estimates upward for January and February by a total of 95,000 jobs. Biden said that means in the last three months, the U.S. economy has averaged more than 500,000 new jobs each month, and at least 400,000 new jobs for 11 straight months.
The U.S. president said as more people in the United States go to work, it could ease the supply issues the nation has been facing and could help reduce inflation, which continues to hover near 8%, well above the nation’s long-term average of 3.24%.
In another encouraging sign for the U.S. economy, 418,000 people began looking for work in March, and many found one. Since the pandemic struck in 2020, many people have remained on the sidelines of the job market, a trend that has contributed to a chronic worker shortage in many industries.
Biden credited much of the good economic news to the “American Rescue Plan,” passed by Congress last year, for helping bring the pandemic under control, get schools open and bring people back to work.
Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press and Reuters.