President Joe Biden said Wednesday that new inflation statistics showing America’s prices are surging more than they have in 30 years are proof that there is “more work to do before our economy is back to normal.”
“Inflation hurts Americans (sic) pocketbooks, and reversing this trend is a top priority for me,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.
Despite a strong economic rebound in recent months with record job growth, rising wages and a surging stock market, many Americans are feeling negative about the state of the economy, faced with high prices on gas and other everyday goods as the holiday season approaches. A CNN Poll released this week shows more than a third of Americans say the economy is the most pressing problem facing the country, and 52% of Americans disapprove of the job he’s doing as president.
US consumer price inflation surged higher again in October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. Over the past 12 months, prices climbed 6.2% – the biggest increase since November 1990.
Stripping out food and energy prices, which tend to be more volatile, the index rose 4.6% over the same period, the biggest jump since August 1991. The overall price index rose 0.9% in October alone, adjusted for seasonal swings, significantly more than the 0.6% economists had predicted and overshadowing the somewhat more tepid 0.4% increase from September.
Excluding food and energy, prices climbed 0.6% last month – more than in September.
“The largest share of the increase in prices in this report is due to rising energy costs – and in the few days since the data for this report were collected, the price of natural gas has fallen,” Biden said in the statement. “I have directed my National Economic Council to pursue means to try to further reduce these costs, and have asked the Federal Trade Commission to strike back at any market manipulation or price gouging in this sector.”
He continued, “Other price increases reflect the ongoing struggle to restore smooth operations in the economy in the restart: I am traveling to Baltimore today to highlight how my Infrastructure Bill will bring down these costs, reduce these bottlenecks, and make goods more available and less costly. And I want to reemphasize my commitment to the independence of the federal reserve to monitor inflation, and take steps necessary to combat it.”
At the Port of Baltimore Wednesday, Biden will highlight provisions in the newly passed bipartisan infrastructure plan aimed at easing supply chain concerns at ports that could help alleviate inflation. Biden has not yet signed the bill into law, the White House signaling that he will do so at a ceremony when Congress returns from recess next week.
In his statement, Biden reiterated his calls on Congress to pass his sweeping economic and climate agenda and touted six consecutive weeks of decline in new unemployment claims.
“We are making progress on our recovery. Jobs are up, wages are up, home values are up, personal debt is down, and unemployment is down,” Biden said. “We have more work to do, but there is no question that the economy continues to recover and is in much better shape today than it was a year ago.”
This story has been updated with additional information.