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Bad jobs news should help Joe Biden focus on getting US economy moving again

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Bad jobs news should help Joe Biden focus on getting US economy moving again 1

December’s grim jobs report should help President-elect Joe Biden set his priorities for his first months in office: The country needs to end the pandemic and get the US economy roaring again.

Democrats’ other desires (and Republicans’!) need to take a back seat.

Where economists had predicted a small employment gain of around 77,000, the nation instead lost 140,000 jobs — mainly thanks to new shutdowns as the hospitality industry took yet another hard hit. It was the first report since April to see a net jobs loss.

In all, the nation has regained about half the 22 million jobs lost in the pandemic’s first two months, but the rate slowed as the year ended — and, we now know, turned negative.

Some 10 million more Americans are out of work now than in February 2020, with many suffering grievously.

Newly ascendant Democrats will surely offer a new relief bill soon; let’s hope they can keep it relatively clean of pet projects and focus on getting the country through the next few months — and on reversing this employment decline.

Vaccinating enough Americans to end the pandemic is of course the best possible medicine for the US economy, but Washington also needs to avoid slamming job-creators as they get back on their feet.

Set progressive visions aside for now, and get the nation what it desperately needs.

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