White House Braces For Ugly Inflation Report, But Says Things Will Ease Up Soon
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 13: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre answers questions during the daily briefing at the White House June 13, 2002 in Washington, DC. Jean-Pierre answered a range of questions during the briefing related to proposed gun reform legislation, and a planned trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Biden administration is preparing for poor inflation news, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is slated to release June data for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) — a major tracker for inflation — on Wednesday morning. As of May, the metric was surging at 8.6% year-over-year, setting a fresh four-decade high.

“We expect the headline number, which includes gas and food, to be highly elevated, mainly because gas prices were so elevated in June,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “Gas and food prices continue to be heavily impacted by the war in Ukraine. And there are a few important points to keep in mind when we get this backwards-looking data.”

Indeed, Jean-Pierre indicated that June price data would be somewhat outdated due to the possible easing of inflationary pressures. Gas prices, for example, have gradually abated over the past several weeks after surpassing $5.00 per gallon in early June. As of Tuesday, the national average gas price was $4.66, according to AAA.

“The President’s number one economic priority is tackling inflation. And looking ahead, there are a number of reasons why we expect those high prices to ease over the coming months,” Jean-Pierre continued. “Our administration will continue driving structural change to produce lower prices, higher wages, and to make our economy dynamic and competitive.”

Inflation is a salient issue for Americans casting their ballots in this year’s midterm elections. Only 1% of voters currently would characterize economic conditions as excellent, according to a poll released on Monday by The New York Times.

The Biden administration’s wariness with respect to inflation is shared by Americans. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s most recent Survey of Consumer Expectations revealed that Americans foresee one-year-ahead inflation hitting 6.8% — an increase from 6.6% in May and the highest level since the survey began in 2013. Yet medium-term expectations somewhat diminished, with inflation expectations for the next three years falling from 3.9% to 3.6%.

Earlier remarks from the White House, however, have claimed that the United States economy remains robust.

“What I’m trying to say to you is that the economy is in a better place than it has been historically,” Jean-Pierre said in early June. “And so, we feel, here at this administration and other experts as well… we feel that we are in a good position to take on inflation. We are in a good position to really start really working on lowering prices.”

“When we look at where we are economically — and we are stronger economically than we have been in history,” Jean-Pierre commented last week. “When you look at the unemployment numbers at 3.6%, when you look at the jobs numbers, more than 8.7 million of new jobs created, that is important.”

Indeed, job growth has been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal economic landscape. Yet the labor force participation rate — the percentage of people who either have a job or are actively looking for one — continues to lag behind pre-recession levels. Heritage Foundation research fellow and former U.S. Joint Economic Committee senior economist Rachel Greszler recently told The Daily Wire that the phenomenon has “caused massive struggles for employers and is directly contributing to inflation, as employers have to pay workers more to do the exact same work they were doing before.”

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