- The Washington Times - Friday, August 7, 2020

The unemployment rate dipped to 10.2% in July, the government reported Friday, as the labor market continued to improve from the coronavirus pandemic.

Employers added a better-than-expected 1.763 million jobs last month, although job growth slowed from 4.8 million in June.

The jobless rate has continued to decline from its high of 14.7% in April, during the worst of the economic shutdowns.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the report was especially strong because it covered a period in which the virus was “spiking” in the Southwest and other areas.

“The worries that some partial shutdowns or some pausing shutdowns would wreck the job numbers did not pan out,” Mr. Kudlow said on Fox Business Network. “I think that’s a great sign of strength.”



The report came as negotiations between the White House and congressional Democratic leaders failed again Thursday night to reach a deal on a new round of coronavirus aid that would extend enhanced federal unemployment benefits of $600 per week.

President Trump is preparing to issue executive orders to halt evictions in federally backed housing, cut payroll taxes and extend federal unemployment payments.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York said the jobs report “shows that the economic recovery spurred by the investments Congress has passed is losing steam and more investments are still urgently needed to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people.”

“Millions of Americans are still hurting and yet, despite this reality, President Trump and Republicans appear ready to walk away from the negotiating table to do unworkable, weak and narrow executive orders that barely scratch the surface of what is needed to defeat the virus and help struggling Americans,” they said in a joint statement.

Mr. Kudlow said the legal drafting of an order to cut payroll taxes is complete.

He also said there is about $1 trillion unspent from the CARES Act, approved in March, available for the president’s actions.

He said among the “essential” items on the president’s list are providing a benefit for “reemployment” for workers, and a job-retention credit for employers.

“There’s a whole variety of issues and federal powers that are at the president’s disposal and he will use them,” Mr. Kudlow said. “You can bet on it.”

Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer said they “remain committed to continue negotiating and reaching a fair agreement with the administration, but we will not go along with the meager legislative proposals that fail to address the gravity of the health and economic situation our country faces.”

“We call upon the White House’s negotiators to join us once again at the negotiating table today to secure a bipartisan agreement to put children, families and workers first,” they said.

Mrs. Pelosi said White House negotiators want Democrats to move further in the administration’s direction on the total cost of a bill. Democrats have proposed more than $3 trillion in aid; Senate Republicans’ plan would cost roughly $1 trillion.

Alfredo Ortiz, an ally of the White House and president and CEO of the Job Creators Network, called on Democrats “to stop holding further relief hostage.”

“Senate Republicans have put together a strong stimulus bill that will extend the Paycheck Protection Program, which has already saved 51 million jobs and is set to expire tomorrow,” Mr. Ortiz said. “The Senate bill also makes common-sense changes to unemployment benefits. Instead of negotiating in good faith, Pelosi and the Democrats would rather create pain for small businesses — and for America’s workers, who saw their unemployment benefits expire on July 31 — than meet Republicans halfway.”

Mrs. Pelosi said White House negotiators want Democrats to move further in the administration’s direction on the total cost of a bill. Democrats have proposed more than $3 trillion in aid; Senate Republicans’ plan would cost roughly $1 trillion.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said the July jobs report “shows just how far we have to go and why leadership matters.”

“We are in a deeper economic hole than we should be because of Donald Trump’s historic failure to respond to the pandemic, and the pace of recovery has now slowed because of Trump’s continuing inability to come up with a plan to control the virus,” Mr. Biden said.

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