Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his newly selected running mate Sen. Kamala Harris went on the attack Wednesday against President Trump's jobs record, arguing that he is "on track to leave office with the worst jobs record of any president in modern history.”
"We have an economic crisis, with more than 16 million Americans -16 million- still out of work,” the former vice president said speaking in his home of Delaware, "Donald Trump is on track to break another record, on track to leave office with the worst jobs record of any president in modern history.”
Harris blamed the economic crisis on the president's "mismanagement" of the coronavirus pandemic which "plunged us into the worst economic crisis since the Depression."
The junior senator from California who was elected in 2016 said that the president "inherited the longest economic expansion in history, from Barack Obama and Joe Biden. And then like everything else he inherited, he ran it straight into the ground."
In making her debut as the official vice-presidential choice of Biden, Harris declared, "Because of Trump's failures of leadership our economy has taken one of the biggest hits out of all of the major industrialized nations, with an unemployment rate that has tripled as of today. This is what happens when we elect a guy who just isn’t up for the job. Our country ends up in tatters, and so does our reputation around the world."
The pair promised that they would deliver "good paying jobs" if elected.
"We’ll create millions of jobs and fight climate change through a clean energy revolution, bring back critical supply chains so the future is made in America, build on the Affordable Care Act so everyone has the peace of mind that comes with health insurance and finally offer caregivers the dignity, respect and the pay that they deserve,” Harris said.
Before the pandemic wreaked havoc with the nation's employment picture, the economy was making significant progress in Trump’s first three years on the job, according to FactCheck.org’s 2020 update in its January analysis,
The unemployment rate, which was well below the historical norm when Trump took office, fell to the lowest rate in half a century. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate was 4.7% when he was sworn in. As of December 2019, the reported rate was 3.5%. The jobless rate was at or below 4% for the 22 months under Trump prior to January 2020, the lowest since a 50-month streak ending in January 1970.
Meanwhile, the number of unfilled job openings stood at 6.8 million as of November 2019, a gain of nearly 1.2 million job openings — or 20.9% — since Trump took office. In January 2019, that number rose as high as 7.6 million, the highest in the 19 years that BLS has tracked the figure. That number has exceeded the number of unemployed people looking for work every month since March 2018. In November, there were 989,000 more job openings than there were people seeking jobs.
Manufacturing jobs also increased under Trump, up by 487,000 as of January, following a net decrease of 193,000 under President Obama. The 3.7% gain came almost entirely in 2017 and 2018, however, when 458,000 manufacturing jobs were added at a faster growth than the 3.4% for total employment. During 2019, factory jobs increased by only 46,000, a gain of 0.4%, compared with 1.4% for overall employment.
While not expanding at the rate Trump promised, real gross domestic product was growing at an annual rate of 2.1% during the third quarter of 2019, after going up 2.9% in 2018 and 2.4% during his first year in office.
As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the United States, the economy was slammed with a loss of 22 million jobs in March and April. According to FactCheck's July 2020 update, the number of job openings stood at 5.9 million as of the last business day of May, and a little over 600,000 of nearly 1.4 million manufacturing jobs lost in March and April have been regained as of mid-June.