U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about inflation at the White House in Washington, December 13, 2022.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Joe Biden on Tuesday celebrated the positive consumer price index report that showed inflation easing in the United States ahead of the holiday season.
“We learned last month that the inflation rate came down, down more than experts expected,” Biden said, speaking from the White House. “In a world where inflation is rising in double digits in many major economies around the world, inflation is coming down in America.”
The core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy costs and which economists view as a primary indicator of inflation, rose only 0.2% in November. It’s the smallest monthly increase in over a year. The report released by the Labor Department on Tuesday found core CPI costs up 6% from a year ago.
Overall CPI, which includes food and energy, rose 0.1% from the previous month and 7.1% over the last year.
The easing suggests the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate increases could be working as intended and the Fed may be able to achieve the “soft landing” it wants, avoiding a large-scale economic recession.
The report is likely to be reassuring to the Fed and the central bank’s Chair Jerome Powell. When it concludes its meeting on Wednesday, the Fed is expected to only increase interest rates by a half-point — as opposed to the three-quarter point hikes it has deployed throughout the year.
The report marks the fifth month in a row where the rate of inflation has declined in the United States, Biden said.
“I want to be clear it’s going to take time to get inflation back to normal levels as we make the transition to a more stable and steady growth,” Biden said.
Biden, standing beside Council of Economic Advisers Chair Cecilia Rouse and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, said he hopes prices will return to normal by the end of next year, if not sooner. But he stressed he cannot make that prediction.
“I’m just convinced they’re not going to go up. I’m convinced they’re going to continue to go down,” he said.
The president acknowledged that many Americans are currently struggling. But he said the positive economic news confirms that his economic policies are working, and urged Americans to stay the course.
“What is clear is my economic plan is working and we’re just getting started,” Biden said. “My goal is simple: get prices under control without choking off economic growth; bring inflation down while keeping the labor market resilient; build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out; an economy with good jobs, good wages and for the long run, not a boom or bust economy.”