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Biden Cites ‘Progress’ on Inflation Despite 7% Climb in 2021

Joe Biden Photographer: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg

President Joe Biden said his administration is “making progress” in battling cost-of-living increases, pointing to slower gains last month in energy and food prices, even as headline consumer inflation hit the highest in almost four decades.

Wednesday’s report from the Labor Department on the consumer price index “shows a meaningful reduction in headline inflation over last month, with gas prices and food prices falling,” Biden said in a statement on Wednesday.

“At the same time, this report underscores that we still have more work to do, with price increases still too high and squeezing family budgets,” Biden said.

Biden’s top economic adviser on Wednesday noted the Fed’s role in combating price increases. Speaking in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power With David Westin,” White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese underscored Biden’s support for Fed independence and its efforts to make sure “these price increases don’t become entrenched.”

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The consumer price index climbed 7% in 2021, the largest 12-month gain since June 1982, according to Labor Department data released Wednesday. The widely followed inflation gauge rose 0.5% from November, exceeding forecasts.

Excluding the volatile food and energy components, so-called core prices accelerated from a month earlier, rising by a larger-than-forecast 0.6%. The measure jumped 5.5% from a year earlier, the biggest advance since 1991.

The energy index declined 0.4% from November, the first monthly decline since April as gasoline prices slid. Food inflation climbed 0.5%, a slight deceleration from the previous month due to falling costs for meats.

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