Americans give President Joe Biden higher marks for his handling of the economy than they gave any his four predecessors at the same point in their presidencies, according to a CNBC survey published Thursday.
Biden holds a 62 percent approval rating on that issue, according to the survey. President Barack Obama placed second, with approval from 60 percent of Americans in February 2009. President George W. Bush placed third, with 57 percent approval in March 2001, followed by President Bill Clinton (51 percent) and President Donald Trump (44 percent).
Trump, Biden’s immediate predecessor, presided over a surge of 6.7 million new jobs between the time he took office in January 2017 and December 2019. The unemployment rate dipped during that period from 4.7 percent to 3.5 percent, its lowest level since December 1969. It rose to 14.7 percent in April 2020, after the onset of lockdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic, before sliding back to 6.3 percent by the time he left office.
Biden, meanwhile, has spent his first month in office seeking to pass a massive $1.9 trillion Covid relief package that would, among other measures, provide $1,400 direct payments to some Americans making less than $75,000. It would also raise federal employment aid to $400 weekly, in addition to extending other pandemic-related economic benefits through September.
A report from the Congressional Budget Office this month indicated that the economic consequences of the pandemic may last longer than the proposed aid programs. Analysts said they expected “gradual declines” in the unemployment rate for the rest of 2021, but didn’t anticipate a return to pre-pandemic employment until 2024.
CNBC’s survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. It included 1,000 respondents without respect to their voter registration status.
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