Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Friday lambasted President Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic downturn, accusing the president of botching the nation's recovery.
"The economic inequities that began before the downturn have only worsened under this failed presidency," Biden said. "When the crisis started, we all hoped for a few months of a shutdown would be followed by a rapid economic turnaround. No one thought they'd lose their job for good or see small businesses shut down en masse."
Biden's remarks in Wilmington, Del., came the same day the Labor Department released its August jobs report, revealing U.S. employers added 1.4 million jobs last month, sending the unemployment tumbling to 8.4%.
Trump touted the better-than-expected drop in the joblessness rate – the first time it fell below 10% since March – as evidence the pandemic-ravaged economy is improving from lockdowns earlier this year that triggered a wave of job losses and business closures.
"Wow, much better than expected!" he tweeted. "Broke the 10% level faster and deeper than thought possible."
Still, while the figure marked the fourth straight month of job gains over 1 million, it's well below the combined 7.5 million jobs added in May and June before hiring cooled in July, with growth of just 1.9 million positions. The economy has added back about half of the 22 million jobs it lost during the pandemic, data show.
There are still 11.5 million more out-of-work Americans than in February, when unemployment in the country sat at a half-century low of 3.5%.
"Donald Trump may be the only president in modern history to leave office with fewer jobs than when he took office," Biden said.
The former vice president suggested Trump's mishandling of the economy has exacerbated income inequality in the nation and contributed to a so-called "k-shaped" recovery — in which wealthy Americans are experiencing a shorter recession and a faster rebound, while low- and middle-class Americans are still living on the brink.
"We all know it didn't have to be this bad," Biden said. "It didn't have to be this bad to begin with, if the president just did his job."