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Biden says reversing high inflation is top priority for him

Biden says reversing high inflation is top priority for him
President directs National Economic Council to reduce costs, urges Fed to take necessary steps

By Ovunc Kutlu

ANKARA (AA) - US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that reversing high inflation is a top priority for him after consumer prices hit their highest level in 30 years.

"Inflation hurts Americans pocketbooks," Biden said in a statement released by the White House, noting that the largest share of the increase in prices is because of 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.

The statement was released after the Labor Department said the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 6.2% in October on an annual basis, its largest 12-month increase since November 1990.

The food index rose 0.9%, energy index increased 4.8% and the gasoline index soared 6.1%. On an annual basis, they were up 5.3%, 30% and 49.6%, respectively.

Biden argued that his $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that passed the House of Representatives last week will bring down costs, reduce supply bottlenecks and make goods more available and less costly.

He urged the Federal Reserve to monitor inflation and take necessary steps.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has repeatedly insisted that the central bank views persistent inflation as "transitory" and said on Nov. 3 that it is not a good time to raise interest rates before the labor market further recovers.

The US government printed around $5 trillion during the coronavirus pandemic to support the public, American economy and markets.

Biden continued to claim that his nearly $2 trillion Build Back Better plan will help lower costs for American families through affordable health coverage, alongside cutting taxes for 50 million Americans.

"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," he said, adding that the economy continues to recover and is currently in much better shape than compared to a year ago.

Biden also emphasized that unemployment claims are down 70% since he took office, as the number of workers losing jobs fell to the lowest level since the start of the pandemic.

The number of Americans filing first-time unemployment claims dropped to 267,000 last week, according to Labor Department.

While the figure is the fifth consecutive weekly decline below the critical 300,000 level, it is the sixth weekly decrease in a row.

"Unemployment has fallen so far this year at the fastest rate since the 1950s," said Biden.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.6% in October, down from 4.8% in September, according to Labor Department data. About 7.4 million people are still out of work as of last month in the world’s largest economy.

source: News Feed
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