Business & Economy

On The Money — US gets labor boost, adding 428K jobs

The post-recession jobs boom continued in April with another strong employment report. We’ll also look at President Biden’s call to the GOP to help fight inflation and the cryptocurrency sanctions crackdown.

But first … they’re on opposite sides of the aisle, but these two senators once bonded over a NSFW song. 

Welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. For The Hill, we’re Sylvan LaneAris Folley and Karl Evers-Hillstrom. Subscribe here.

April jobs numbers better than expected

The U.S. economy added 428,000 jobs and the jobless rate held even at 3.6 percent, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.

  • The April jobs report showed job growth holding strong in April as the unemployment rate remained just 0.1 percentage points above its level in February 2020.  
  • Economists expected the U.S. to have added roughly 300,000 jobs, according to consensus estimates, while bringing the jobless rate back down to pre-pandemic lows. 

Despite rising inflation, high gas prices and a first-quarter decline in economic growth, consumer and business spending have continued to grow — even when adjusted for inflation. 

Sylvan breaks it down here.


Biden calls out Republicans to help fight inflation 

President Biden on Friday called on Republicans in Congress to help with efforts to combat inflation, following the April jobs report that showed job growth holding strong. 

“There’s more work to do. I encourage Congressional Republicans to join us in our efforts to lower prices for families across the country, by making more in America, strengthening our supply chains, and cutting the energy and prescription drug costs,” Biden said in a statement.

  • Biden said that fighting inflation is a top priority for him and called it a challenge for families across the U.S., but said the U.S. is in “a position of strength.” 
  • The U.S. economy added 428,000 jobs and the jobless rate held even at 3.6 percent, according to Labor Department data released on Friday, which was better than the roughly 300,000 added jobs that economists expected. 
  • Biden has been battered in polls over soaring consumer prices, which increased by 8.5 percent over the last 12 months.   

The Hill’s Alex Gangitano has more here


Treasury sanctions cryptocurrency tool used by North Korea 

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions Friday on online cryptocurrency tool Blender, which is used by North Korea to steal and launder virtual currencies, the department said. 

A North Korea cyber operations unit, known as the Lazarus Group, which had already been sanctioned by the U.S., carried out a $620 million heist in March and used the Blender tool to launder more than $20 million of the stolen funds, Treasury said. 

  • Blender, or, is a cryptocurrency tool known as a “mixer,” software designed to anonymize the source of virtual currency by exchanging it for an equal amount of randomized currencies. 
  • The heist involved an online game called Axie Infinity, which is based on transactions that use non-fungible tokens, digital objects used to store value on the blockchain platforms that support cryptocurrencies.  

The Hill’s Tobias Burns has more here


Biden dials up pressure on Congress to pass bipartisan innovation bill 

President Biden on Friday called on Congress to pass a bipartisan innovation bill while stressing steps his administration is taking to lower inflation and combat rising prices on everything from gas to rent. 

“Pass the damn bill and send it to me. If we do, it’s going to help bring down prices, bring home jobs and power America’s manufacturing comeback. Look, it’s also going to help reduce cost and strengthen our economic and national security,” Biden said in remarks at United Performance Metals in Hamilton, Ohio. 

  • The legislation would provide funding for domestic manufacturing of semiconductors and other materials that would make the U.S. less dependent on foreign supply chains. 
  • Before his remarks, the president and the senators toured United Performance Metals, an Ohio-based manufacturer. The firm will be a supplier to some of the companies signing on to the board of the newly launched initiative AM Forward. The initiative is aimed at lowering costs for American families by focusing on 3D printing; its initial participants are GE Aviation, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Siemens Energy. 

The Hill’s Alex Gangitano has more here

Good to Know

President Biden on Friday announced another security assistance package for Ukraine totaling $150 million, saying it would include artillery munitions, radars and other equipment.  

“Today, the United States is continuing our strong support for the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their country against Russia’s ongoing aggression,” Biden said in a statement.  

Here’s what else have our eye on: 

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday announced that the House will now require staffers to get paid a minimum salary of $45,000. 
  • The White House is preparing for as many as 100 million Americans to get infected with COVID-19 during a wave this fall and winter if Congress does not provide new funding for vaccines and tests, a senior administration official said Friday, warning new money is needed to have enough vaccines for everyone. 
  • Racial justice groups and other organizations are pressing President Biden to use his executive authority to form a federal commission to study and develop reparations proposals for African Americans, as legislation calling for similar action has stalled in Congress for more than a year. 
  • Americans are moving from big cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., to southeastern states like Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia, where home prices have historically been lower and where nature is more easily accessible, data shows

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week. 



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