How it started … How it’s going: Inflation down in June, but food, housing prices still up under Biden

President Biden took a victory lap Thursday after inflation dropped for the first time in four years, although prices remain uncomfortably high for millions of Americans. 

The U.S. Department of Labor said that the consumer price index (CPI), a broad measure of how much everyday goods like gasoline, groceries and rent cost, dropped 0.1% in June from the previous month. It marked the first monthly decline since May 2020. Prices remain up 3% from the same time last year.

“Today’s report shows that we are making significant progress fighting inflation. Overall prices fell last month, after staying flat in May, and core inflation is the lowest in more than three years. Prices are falling for cars, appliances, and airfares, and grocery prices have fallen since the beginning of the year,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House. 

“Thanks to my economic plan, wages are rising faster than prices, we’ve created 15.7 million jobs, and communities that were left behind by my predecessor are making ‘a remarkable comeback,’” he added.

INFLATION UNEXPECTEDLY FALLS TO 3% IN JUNE

The inflation report is a bit of welcome relief for Biden, who faces calls to withdraw from the 2024 presidential election from members of his own party after his disastrous debate against former President Trump last month. But the Democratic president acknowledged that “prices are still too high,” as costs for food and housing are still far above what they were when he took office in January 2021.

Rent was 21.9% more expensive on average in June 2024, compared to January 2021, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows. The average sale price of houses has increased 29.3% as well, up from $396,900 in Q4 2020 to $513,100 in Q1 2024, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve. 

Shelter inflation

Food prices overall have increased 21.5%, according to BLS. Going out to eat costs about 22.7% more on average as well. 

Grocery staples, including eggs, milk, butter and flour, are all more expensive. A dozen eggs cost $1.47 in January 2021. Now, that dozen costs $2.72 on average, a whopping increase of 85%. 

US HOME PRICES JUST HIT ANOTHER ALL-TIME HIGH

Egg price inflation

In his statement, Biden assigned blame for higher prices to greedy corporations making record profits. 

“Big corporations making record profits need to do more to lower prices. I’m fighting to give families more breathing room by taking on Big Pharma to cap insulin at $35 per month, taking on Big Oil to lower prices at the pump, and taking on Wall Street to make the wealthy pay their fair share,” Biden said. 

Butter price inflation

POWELL SAYS FED WON’T RUSH TO CUT INTEREST RATES UNTIL INFLATION IS CONQUERED

He accused Republicans of “only looking after themselves” and asserted that the GOP would cut taxes for the rich if elected and “reignite” inflation. 

Milk price inflation

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., the vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee, called the inflation report “a step in the right direction” but said it doesn’t change the fact that prices are still elevated under Biden’s watch.

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“After adjusting for inflation, workers are still earning less per week than they were three and a half years ago, and inflation has remained above the Fed’s 2% target for 39 consecutive months,” said Schweikert. 

He added, “the Biden administration has exacerbated inflation by injecting trillions in reckless spending, driving up interest rates, and obstructing economic growth. It’s clear this administration’s economic policies won’t bring relief to families anytime soon.” 

FOX Business’ Megan Henney and Brian Brenberg contributed to this report.

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