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UPDATE 1-Biden says jobs data shows need for action on coronavirus relief bill

· 02/05/2021 10:32
UPDATE 1-Biden says jobs data shows need for action on coronavirus relief bill

Adds quotes, details

- President Joe Biden said on Friday that fresh data showing weakness in the U.S. jobs market proves the need for aggressive action by Congress on a coronavirus relief bill.

Meeting with top Democrats from the U.S. House of Representatives at the White House, Biden said the United States would not return to full employment at the current jobs-creation pace for ten years, underscoring the need for lawmakers to act.

"It’s people’s lives. Real-life people are hurting and we can fix it," Biden said. "When we help them we are also helping our competitive capacity," he said.

U.S. employment growth rebounded less than expected in January and job losses the prior month were deeper than initially thought, strengthening the argument for additional relief money from the government to aid the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. nL1N2KA34D

Biden is pushing the U.S. Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion recovery plan, which has been met with resistance from mostly Republican lawmakers, now worried about the swelling national debt. The Senate worked late into the night on Thursday, with Biden's fellow Democrats aiming to override Republican opposition to the sweeping COVID-19 relief plan.

The Labor Department said on Friday nonfarm payrolls increased by 49,000 jobs last month. Data for December was revised to show 227,000 jobs lost instead of 140,000 as previously reported.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Writing by Tim Ahmann and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Lisa Lambert and Alistair Bell)

((tim.ahmann@thomsonreuters.com; +1 202 898-8370; Reuters Messaging: tim.ahmann.reuters.com@reuters.net))