Washington (AFP)

Joe Biden is expected to plead again Friday in favor of his gigantic investment plans to boost employment in the United States, the expected euphoria not having occurred in April, despite the recovery of the economy.

Only 266,000 jobs were created last month, a far cry from the expected million.

As for the unemployment rate, it even rose for the first time in nearly a year, to 6.1% (+0.1 point), the Labor Department announced on Friday.

These figures should reinforce Joe Biden, who has been defending for months the need to invest nearly $ 4 trillion over the next decade - including more than $ 2 trillion in infrastructure - to create jobs, especially for working people. less qualified.

Thursday, in Louisiana, he praised his gigantic investment plan in infrastructure, essential, according to him, to compete with China.

But the Republican opposition immediately saw these employment figures as a failure of the President's policies.

It is "a clear message to say that the political measures of Joe Biden do not work", thus commented Republican senators on their Twitter account.

For them, the reason is to be found on the side of unemployment benefits, the duration of which has been extended until the end of August and the amount raised by 300 dollars per week.

This "pushes people more to stay at home than to work," they vilified.

- "Why take a job today?"


Many employers say they are struggling to find candidates, despite the 16 million unemployed and self-employed who still received unemployment benefit in mid-April.

The fear of contracting the Covid remains present and the difficulties of childcare persist until schools are fully reopened.

And many unemployed people take advantage of aid to take their time and find a more satisfactory job, in search of a position allowing teleworking according to economists.

Employers try to attract recruits with higher wages.

The increase in the private sector was 3% in the first quarter compared to the first quarter of 2020, according to figures from the Department of Labor.

The state of Montana (northwest) offers him 1,200 dollars to the unemployed who accept a job.

These extended unemployment benefits "are set to expire in September, but maybe people think jobs will be just as easy to find as they are now, so why take a job today?" Notes Ian Shepherdson, economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics.

However, he said he was "convinced that the demand for labor should increase further in the coming months as the reopening continues".

- Leisure comes back to life -

Because US economic activity is gradually coming out of its slumber, and many economists, including those in the White House, argue that the data is very volatile from month to month.

"This strange report on employment is not a reliable indicator of the state of the labor market," said economist Joel Naroff in a note.

Nearly one in three Americans is now fully vaccinated, and many household purses are full thanks to government aid and after a year of no gym memberships or trips to the other side of the world. .

Companies in the hotel, leisure and service sectors, which had been devastated by the pandemic, are coming back to life as Americans are vaccinated, and have created 375,000 jobs alone last month.

But those gains have been partially wiped out by losses in business services, as a return to the office is yet to be seen for many white-collar workers.

More than 22 million jobs were destroyed in March and April 2020, under the effect of the first containment measures, of which some 8 million have still not been recreated.

The unemployment rate had fallen in two months from its lowest level in 50 years (3.5% in February) to a highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s (14.8% in April).

The US Central Bank expects an unemployment rate of 4.5% at the end of the year.

© 2021 AFP