Biden blames delta variant, unvaccinated people for weaker-than-expected jobs report

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U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the end of the war in Afghanistan in the State Dining Room at the White House on August 31, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Friday blamed the coronavirus pandemic for a surprisingly weak jobs report, calling out Americans who have still not gotten vaccinated even amid the spread of the highly infectious delta variant.

Nonfarm payrolls in August increased by just 235,000, the Labor Department reported, far below the 720,000 new hires that economists predicted. The report showed the smallest monthly jobs total since January.

“There’s no question the delta variant is why today’s job report isn’t stronger,” Biden said at the White House shortly after the underwhelming data came out.

Biden, who has spent much of his first leg in the White House focused on the pandemic, said “we need to make more progress in fighting the delta variant.”

Despite the government’s ongoing vaccination push, tens of millions of eligible Americans still have not received even a single dose of a Covid shot.

Biden accused that group of prolonging the pandemic and contributing to anxieties that impact the economy.

“This is a continuing pandemic of the unvaccinated,” the president said. “Too many have not gotten vaccinated, and it’s creating a lot of unease in our economy and around our kitchen tables.”

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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