Today’s numbers reflect the pressures that economies around the world are facing as we emerge from a global pandemic — prices are rising. But developments in the weeks after these data were collected last month show that price and cost increase are slowing, although not as quickly as we’d like.
Half of the price increases in this report are in cars and energy costs from November. Since then, we have seen significant energy price reductions. Gas prices nationally are down from their peak; prices in 20 states are already below their 20-year average and the price of natural gas is down 25% from its November average. On cars, we have in recent weeks begun to see a decline in used car prices on the wholesale market which should translate into lower prices for Americans in the months ahead.
Even with this progress, price increases continue to squeeze family budgets. We are making progress on pandemic related challenges to our supply chain which make it more expensive to get goods on shelves, and I expect more progress on that in the weeks ahead.
Finally, the challenge of prices underscores the importance that Congress move without delay to pass my Build Back Better plan, which lowers how much families pay for health care, prescription drugs, child care, and more. American families should not have to wait to get relief on the cost of prescription drugs like insulin, or see their childcare costs cut by more than half. Independent economists have projected that this plan will save a typical family of four $7,400 every year — while easing long-run inflationary pressures on our economy. For anyone who, like me, is concerned about costs facing American families, passing BBB is the most immediate and direct step we can take to deliver.
Our economy — like the economies of other major countries — was devastated by the pandemic. Yesterday, we got more proof that our jobs recovery is on track and setting records – with unemployment insurance claims falling to their lowest level in 50 years and nearly 6 million Americans back to work. Economic growth is stronger here than virtually any other nation. Americans have more money in their pockets than this time last year – $100 more each month than last year – even after accounting for price increases. But we have to get prices and costs down before consumers will feel confident in that recovery. That is a top goal of my administration.