The U.S. posted strong job growth in June, but the total number of employed Americans remained below its pre-pandemic level, federal data showed.
Employers added a more-than-expected 372,000 jobs last month while the U.S. unemployment rate remain unchanged at 3.6%, the Department of Labor reported Friday morning. The job gains take the total number of U.S. employees to nearly 152 million, slightly below the pre-pandemic level of 152.5 million recorded in February 2020, according to a Federal Reserve database.
"The historic strength of our job market is one reason our economy is uniquely well positioned to tackle a range of global economic challenges — from global inflation to the economic fallout from Putin’s war," President Biden said in a statement. "No country is better positioned than America to bring down inflation, without giving up all of the economic gains we have made over the last 18 months."
Biden celebrated that the report showed private sector jobs returning to their pre-pandemic level. He added that slower job growth would be reported in coming months, but that it would not be a "bad thing."
However, Republicans and some business groups slammed the president following the report Friday for inflation that continues to hit consumers nationwide. Inflation surged 8.6% year-over-year in May, the highest jump since late 1981, recent data showed.
"President Biden’s Press Secretary tried to claim just yesterday that we are in better economic shape than ever, yet higher prices continue to hammer everyone," Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., the ranking member of the House Select Committee on the Economy, told Fox News Digital in a statement. "The White House remains out of touch and the American people are paying the price."
Alfredo Ortiz, the president and CEO of the Job Creators Network, said "it’s clear the economy is in bad shape" based on the report despite the big top-line figure. He noted slowing wage growth and low labor force participation rate.
"The unemployment rate of 3.6 percent is misleading — it excludes those who can and should be working but have dropped out of the labor force," Ortiz said in a statement. "We are also experiencing the lowest consumer sentiment on record."
"The reason for this disaster is clear: President Biden’s policies, especially his record spending spree which is causing the worst inflation in four decades," he continued.