President-elect Joe Biden on Friday called for extra financial relief for Americans “now” after the latest U.S. jobs report showed losses for the first time in eight months, a reflection of the continued toll the coronavirus pandemic is taking on the economy.
The private sector and government shed 140,000 jobs in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Friday.
Introducing his nominees to head the Commerce Department and other agencies, Biden said, “in many ways, the jobs report is a pandemic report.”
The president-elect said he would be “laying out the groundwork” for his COVID-19 relief package next week.
Biden repeated support for increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and also revealed that he had seriously considered tapping Sen. Bernie Sanders as labor secretary.
Biden has nominated Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for the post and said he and Sanders agreed that a special election for Sanders’ seat could jeopardize the Democrats’ new Senate majority.