Biden touts fastest-ever shift from people on ‘government support to earning a weekly paycheck’ while preparing for another gnarly inflation report



President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden speaks to members of the press at the South Lawn of the White House on November 19, 2021.Alex Wong/Getty Images

  • Prior to a Friday inflation report that’s expected to be nasty, Biden touted the jobs recovery.

  • He said he’s overseen the fastest ever shift from people on “government support to earning a weekly paycheck.”

  • At the same time, he tried to argue that the forthcoming inflation read will look worse than it is.

President Joe Biden is feeling good about the economic recovery, even in the face of inflation.

He’s overseen a strong jobs comeback despite the widespread reports of a labor shortage, and inflation in October that was higher than it’s been in 30 years. The inflation report for November due out on Friday could be a 40-year high.

On Thursday, he made the case that the former should overshadow the latter, which also won’t be as bad as it looks. Americans’ wallets are being squeezed across the country, though, Biden made clear in a statement that it’s not all bad.

“It is the fastest movement of people from relying on government support to earning a weekly paycheck in history,” Biden said, referring to Thursday’s report showing jobless claims lower than they’d been since 1969.

He added that “Americans on average have about $100 more in their pockets each month than they did last year, after accounting for inflation.”

As White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain highlighted in a tweet, that’s a big difference from the 900,000 weekly claims that the country was notching at the start of the year.

But one economic spectre still haunts Biden’s economic recovery. In October, inflation went up yet again — and beat estimates for just how high economists thought it would be. The Consumer Price Index saw a 0.9% increase in October, while economists thought it would come in closer to 0.6%. As Insider’s Ben Winck and Andy Kiersz reported, that means CPI rose 6.2% in the last year, amounting to the fastest annual inflation growth since 1990. And that price growth was alarmingly strong in almost every single category.

Americans are feeling the toll. 45% of Americans surveyed by Gallup over the first half of November said that increasing prices had caused them or their households some financial hardship, and that hardship is being disproportionately felt by lower-income Americans.

Biden stressed that the report will be based off information from weeks ago, and won’t be in line with how much the situation has improved. “In the weeks since the data for tomorrow’s inflation report was collected,” he said, “energy prices have dropped. The price of gas at the pump has already begun to fall nationally, and real pump prices in 20 states are now lower than the 20-year average. This week, natural gas prices are down more than 25% from their November average.”

He also noted the start of a decline in used car prices on the wholesale market and argued that should translate into lower prices in the months ahead. The information being released “does not reflect today’s reality,” he said. In other words, he knows it’s going to be bad.

The supply-chain crisis isn’t helping, either. Biden pointed out in his remarks that the country is undoubtedly struggling with good shortages, which is a concern especially now given the holiday season. But the president said he has taken “strong, aggressive measures to combat these challenges,” including actions to combat anti-competitive price gouging and a port action plan.

And as Insider’s Ben Winck previously reported, inflation — and the supply-chain crisis — could likely cool off soon. Recent US manufacturing indicators found that supply in the country is starting to match Americans’ spending as bottlenecks at ports are easing up, suggesting a positive shift for consumers and the US economy.

It sounds very much as if Biden is hoping that it won’t overshadow the rest of the news about Americans coming off the sidelines and back to work.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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