Analysis: Joe Biden and the US economy just got a double dose of good news

First, the labor market appears to be turning a corner – finally – in its recovery from the Covid-19 shutdowns, as employers added more than half a million jobs last month, easily exceeding expectations.

The stock market soared with a double dose of optimism. The Dow Jones was up around 300 points, or 0.8%, at the opening bell.

It’s hard to imagine anything more than high-fives and cheers in the west wing with those headlines circling, all before 9am ET. As the White House implements controversial vaccine requirements for roughly 100 million Americans, Biden could hardly ask for better numbers to bolster his case that vaccines are the key to getting the economy back on track.

“This didn’t happen by accident or ‘just because,'” Biden said Friday in a speech on the strong jobs report. “We laid the foundation for this recovery with my American Rescue Plan that Congress approved at the beginning of my term.”

All of that comes on the heels of some potentially good inflation news this week: The Fed is beginning to curb its emergency economic stimulus program. That could curb rising prices and help Biden better advocate for his Build Back Better economic agenda, which Congress was expected to vote on Friday.

Moody’s analysis report released Thursday paints a sunny macroeconomic picture as a backdrop to Biden’s proposal.

“Concerns that the plan will lead to undesirably high inflation and an overheated economy are overblown,” the report says. “The fiscal support it provides will ensure that the economy only returns to full employment after the recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Of course, the economy remains in recovery mode. But the October labor market report may represent a turning point. The unemployment rate fell to 4.6%, the lowest since the recovery began in May 2020. Jobless claims are also falling. Last week, about 269,000 people declared themselves unemployed, a pandemic-era low.

For comparison, when Biden took office in January, the unemployment rate was 6.3% and claims for jobless benefits were increasing to around 900,000 a week.

All of that is much-needed good news for the economy and for Biden, whose approval rating last month. hit the lowest level of his administration.

Neither the economy nor the president are out of the woods. Energy prices are skyrocketing just as the cold weather arrives; employers are still struggling to fill jobs and millions of Americans are not returning to the workforce. The number of people who were not in the workforce but wanted a job stood at 6 million last month, nearly 1 million more than before the pandemic.

“There is still more work to be done,” tweeted press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday, “but we have made incredible progress so far in getting Americans back to work, thanks to the Rescue Plan and the gunshots.”

– CNN Business’s Anneken Tappe contributed to this report.

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