Today, we received two pieces of economic news which underscore that our recovery is continuing to progress, but that we also have more work to do before our economy is back to normal.
First, on employment, we learned that we have had six consecutive weeks of decline in new unemployment claims. The number of workers losing their jobs is at the lowest level since the pandemic began. Unemployment claims are down 70% since I took office. Unemployment has fallen so far this year at the fastest rate since the 1950s. It’s a jobs recovery that has happened years faster than after the Great Recession of 2008. America is getting back to work.
And, on inflation, today’s report shows an increase over last month. Inflation hurts Americans pocketbooks, and reversing this trend is a top priority for me. 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. 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. Other price increases reflect the ongoing struggle to restore smooth operations in the economy in the restart: I am travelling 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.
Going forward, it is important that Congress pass my Build Back Better plan, which is fully paid for and does not add to the debt, and will get more Americans working by reducing the cost of child care and elder care, and help directly lower costs for American families by providing more affordable health coverage and prescription drugs—alongside cutting taxes for 50 million Americans including for most families with children. 17 Nobel Prize winners in economics have said that my plan will “ease inflationary pressures.” And my plan does this without raising taxes on those making less than $400,000 or adding to the federal debt, by requiring the wealthiest and big corporations to start to pay their fair share in taxes.
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. 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.