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White House goes into full spin mode, engages in pre-emptive damage control over forthcoming jobs report

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Win McNamee/Getty Images

The White House engaged in pre-emptive damage control Monday in anticipation of an apparently dismal jobs report.

What are the details?

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the jobs report, which which will be released Friday, will appear disproportionately bad, citing the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases.

"Because Omicron was so highly transmissible, nearly 9 million people called out sick in early January when the jobs data was being collected," Psaki explained. "The week the survey was taken, the week of Jan. 12, was at the height of the Omicron spike."

"So we just kind of wanted to prepare people to understand how the data is taken, what they're looking at, and what it is an assessment of," she continued. "As a result, the jobs report may show job losses in large part because workers were out sick from Omicron at the point when it was peaking during the period — the week when the data was taken."

Jen Psaki Warns Jobs Losses May Appear In Upcoming January Report www.youtube.com

The jobs report is based on data collected during the "survey reference week," which is the calendar week that includes the 12th day of the month. This month, the 12th day fell during the week of Jan. 9 to Jan. 15, which coincided with the highest seven-day average of COVID cases, according to CDC data.

Hourly workers who missed work for any reason related to the pandemic would not be counted in employment data, even if they were not laid off.

Thus, because census data showed that approximately 8.75 million workers missed work in early January for reasons related to the pandemic — a significant increase from just 2.96 million in December — economists are anticipating the weakest job numbers since December 2020, Axios noted.

What is the irony?

While it is completely fair for the White House to explain why the forthcoming jobs report may be skewed to appear worse than it actually is, the White House is engaging in a sly double standard.

The Biden administration worked overtime to take responsibility for allegedly creating more jobs in 2021 than any previous presidential administration. For example, Biden said in early January, "We added 6.4 million jobs last year. That’s the most jobs in any calendar year by any president in history."

In promoting the alleged accomplishment, the Biden administration obscured the fact that most of those jobs were not new — but instead were Americans returning to the workforce after the COVID lockdowns ended. Now, however, the White House wants to absolve itself from dismal jobs numbers by blaming the pandemic.

The good outcomes are attributed to Biden, while the bad ones are blamed on the pandemic.

The truth, according to ADP chief economist Nela Richardson, is that Biden has not created "one single job" when measured against the "high-water mark" in late 2019.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in fact, confirm the U.S. economy remains at a net loss on jobs. The agency's latest report showed that the economy remains 3.6 million jobs short of pre-pandemic levels, as measured in February 2020.

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