Friday's monthly jobs report showed that U.S. employers added a healthy 390,000 jobs in May, continuing a red-hot streak of hiring in recent months from the COVID-19 pandemic recession, despite inflationary concerns.

Speaking from Rehoboth Beach in his home state of Delaware, President Joe Biden hailed the "historically strong growth" highlighted in Friday's report, while addressing the pain that inflation has inflicted on Americans and his plans to lower costs.

What You Need To Know

  • U.S. employers added a healthy 390,000 jobs last month, extending a streak of solid hiring that has bolstered an economy under pressure from high inflation and interest rates

  • President Joe Biden on Friday hailed the "historically strong growth" highlighted in Friday's report, while addressing the pain that inflation has inflicted on Americans and his plans to lower costs

  • Since President Biden took office in January of last year, the U.S. economy has added 8.7 million jobs, according to the Labor Department, though inflationary concerns could blunt some of the robust economic growth the country has experienced

  • Biden touted efforts he has taken to lower food and gas prices and called on Congress to reduce other costs for the American people, including passing his plans for clean energy tax credits for families and businesses and capping the price of prescription drugs, including insulin

"I know that even with today's good news, a lot of Americans remain anxious," Biden said about rising costs. "And I understand the feeling. I grew up in a family about 100 miles from here that if that the price of gas went up, we felt it, it was a discussion at the kitchen table. And there's no denying that high prices, particularly around gasoline and food, are a real problem for people."

Since President Biden took office in January of last year, the U.S. economy has added 8.7 million jobs, according to the Labor Department.

"At the time I took office about 16 months ago, the economy had stalled and COVID was out of control," Biden said. "Today, thanks to the economic plan and the vaccination plan that my administration put into action, America has achieved the most robust recovery in modern history, just two years removed from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression."

"The job market is the strongest has been since just after World War II. We've got more evidence of that today," Biden said, noting that the U.S. unemployment rate is "near historic lows" and that American families' "average savings are up" and they're "carrying less debt," according to a recent survey from the Federal Reserve.

Biden also touted the recent report which said that the go-broke dates for Medicare and Social Security have been pushed back a year due to the United States' stronger-than-expected economic recovery.

"In fact, America is in stronger economic position today than just about any other country in the world," Biden said. "Independent experts have projected that the U.S. economy could grow faster than China's economy this year. That hasn't happened since 1976, nearly one half-century ago."

Last month's gain reflects a still-healthy job market despite concerns that the economy will weaken in the coming months as the Federal Reserve steadily raises rates to fight inflation. The unemployment rate was unchanged at a low 3.6%, the Labor Department said Friday.

"We've laid an economic foundation that's historically strong," Biden said. "And now we're moving forward to a new moment where we can build on that foundation. Build a future of stable steady growth so we can bring down inflation without sacrificing all the historic gains we've made."

"There's every reason for the American people to feel confident that we'll meet these challenges," Biden said. "Because of the enormous progress we've made on the economy, Americans can tackle inflation from a position of strength."

Businesses in many industries remain desperate to hire because their customers have kept spending freely despite intensifying concerns about high inflation. Americans' finances have been buoyed by rising pay and an unusually large pile of savings that were accumulated during the pandemic, particularly by higher-income households.

Workers, in general, are enjoying nearly unprecedented bargaining power. The number of people who are quitting jobs, typically for better positions at higher pay, has been at or near a record high for six months.

Biden warned that the U.S. may not see future monthly jobs reports with such dramatic figures, but noted that would be a "good thing" for the economy, showing stable growth.

"As we move to a new period of stable, steady growth, we should expect to see more moderation," Biden warned. "We aren't likely to see the kind of blockbuster job reports month after month, like we had over this past year. But that's a good thing. That's a sign of a healthy economy with steady growth, rising wages for working families, everyday costs easing up and shrinking the deficit."

Biden said that the U.S. is "on track to cut the federal deficit this year by $1.7 trillion," which would be the largest decline in American history, and that the Treasury Department is planning to pay down the national debt this quarter.

"That stability puts us in a strong position to tackle what is clearly a problem inflation," he added. "I've been very clear that fighting inflation is my top economic priority."

The strength of the job market is itself contributing to inflationary pressures. With wages rising across the economy, companies are passing on at least some of their increased labor costs to their customers in the form of higher prices. The costs of food, gas, rent and other items – which fall disproportionately on lower-income households -- are accelerating at nearly the fastest pace in 40 years.

Inflation had begun surging last year as spiking demand for cars, furniture, electronic equipment and other physical goods collided with overwhelmed supply chains and parts shortages. More recently, prices for such services as airline tickets, hotel rooms and restaurant meals have jumped as Americans have shifted more of their spending to those areas.

The Fed's rapid rate hikes, which are on track to be the fastest in more than 30 years, could potentially weaken the economy. To try to cool spending and slow inflation, the central bank raised its short-term rate last month by a half-point, its biggest hike since 2000, to a range of 0.75% to 1%.

Biden reiterated his comments from earlier this week about giving the Fed "the space they need to operate" in order to address inflation.

Two additional half-point rate increases are expected this month and in July. And some Fed officials have suggested in recent speeches that if inflation doesn't show signs of slowing, they could implement yet another half-point increase in September.

The Fed's moves have already sharply elevated mortgage rates and contributed to drops in sales of new and existing homes. The rate hikes have also magnified borrowing costs for businesses, which may respond by reducing their investment in new buildings and equipment, slowing growth in the process.

Biden on Friday also laid out some of the causes for price increases and discussed his plan to lower costs for American families, including calling on Congress to pass his clean energy investment and prescription drug pricing proposals.

"The two challenges on the minds of most working families are prices at the pump and prices at the grocery store," Biden said. "Both of these challenges have been directly exacerbated by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's war in Ukraine. The price of gas is up $1.14 Since the beginning of the year, when Putin began amassing troops at the Ukrainian border. This is a Putin price hike."

"Putin's war has raised the price of food because Ukraine and Russia are two of the world's major bread baskets for wheat and corn," Biden said, adding that Ukraine has "20 million tons of grain" in storage and the war has blocked major trade routes.

Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Reno, Nevada, on Friday, further highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine on the U.S. economy.

"While our economy has recovered faster than anyone thought possible, it is also a fact – as we all are living and know – that supply has struggled to keep up with the demand for new goods and products," Harris told the assembled community leaders. "We have seen the global supply chain slow down because of the pandemic. And we have seen the economic impact of Putin's unprovoked war in Ukraine ripple across the world." 

Both Harris and the president acknowledged that struggling American families might not care about the root causes of inflation, but, rather, want to know how the White House plans to address it.

Biden said that he is working with European partners to try and get Ukrainian grain out of storage and onto the market, and touted his efforts to lower gas prices, including the historic release from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve and authorizing the sale of gasoline using homegrown biofuels, which he said "have already helped to blunt" rising prices.

But, he said, there's more the U.S. can do to reduce the burden on American families, including lowering costs on things like housing, prescription drugs and utilities.

"There's more than one way to solve this problem," Biden said. "If food and gas prices are going to be elevated by Putin's price hike, one way we can make things a little better for families by helping them save on other basic items their family needs on a monthly basis, like their utility bills, their internet bills, their prescription drug bills, and other costs like housing."

"My goal is to make sure at the end of the month, families have a little more breathing room than they have now," the president said, specifically mentioning passing clean energy tax cuts for businesses and families to make homes more energy efficient and capping the price of insulin, a lifesaving drug for millions of Americans with diabetes.

"I'm doing everything I can on my own to help working families during this stretch of higher prices," Biden promised. "I'm gonna continue to do that. But Congress needs to act as well. We can do so much more if we come together to lower the costs for American families."

"Let's come together and focus on what matters," Biden concluded. "Let's build on the extraordinary progress we made. Let's continue to build this economy from the bottom up in the middle out. When that happens, everybody does well, including the very wealthy."

"The president and I are doing everything in our power to lower the cost of the things that matter most for American families, and that includes the work that we still together must fight to achieve, such as bringing down the cost of childcare," Harris later added. "We believe strongly if we are to have a strong workforce, we must recognize that we must support working parents and their ability to parent." 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.