President Biden, whose administration once downplayed inflation as a temporary challenge, pledged Wednesday to address rising prices as newly released numbers showed Americans’ paychecks aren’t going as far as before.
Prices rose 6.2% in October when compared with last year, the largest jump in three decades, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, prices increased 0.9% from September to October.
“Inflation hurts Americans’ pocketbooks, and reversing this trend is a top priority for me,” Biden said in a statement.
The president’s comments represent a new willingness to directly confront the problem, which the U.S. Federal Reserve has repeatedly described as “transitory” and Republicans have accused the administration of ignoring.
Inflation has also been a drag on more positive economic news, such as falling unemployment and rising wages. The unemployment rate fell to 4.6% last month, a sign of the ongoing recovery from the depths of the pandemic-induced recession.
Biden blamed inflation on rising energy costs.
“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 said.
He plans to visit Baltimore’s port Wednesday afternoon to speak about the recently passed infrastructure legislation and investments that could ease bottlenecks in the supply chain.
“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,” Biden said.