White House economic advisor cites job report as proof U.S. is ‘not recessionary’

White House Economic Adviser Jared Bernstein told “Fox News Sunday” that the January job report is evidence that the U.S. is not experiencing a recession. “My point is that 3.4% unemployment is not recessionary,” Bernstein said. “Half a million jobs in January is not recessionary. 2.9% on GDP at the end of last year is not recessionary.” The White House continues to cite positive job reports to counter voter concerns over historic levels of inflation and gas prices — an approach President Biden is likely to emphasize in his State of the Union address Tuesday. The unemployment rate hit its lowest level since 1969, while inflation is at its highest level in four decades.  Bernstein emphasized Sunday that while inflation and gas prices are still a concern, they declined over the past year, which he attributed to actions from Biden. JANUARY JOBS REPORT RELEASED SHOWCASES THE BIGGEST GAIN IN 5 MONTHS “The rate of inflation has fallen six months in a row,” Bernstein said, claiming that this is in part due to “actions this president has taken to shore up and unsnarl our supply chains, and to increase the supply of energy furthermore and moving into 2023 as the Inflation Reduction Act kicks in.” BIDEN DRAGGED FOR TOUTING GAS PRICE DROP AS AMERICANS STRUGGLE TO MAKE ENDS MEET: ‘WHAT PLANET ARE YOU ON?’ The inflation rate went from 7% in 2021 to 6.5% in 2022. Gas prices peaked at more than $5 per gallon last year and hit $3.60 in January. Bernstein dismissed reports that gas prices could hike again to $4 per gallon. “I think it’s very hard to look that far around the corner,” Bernstein said. “I think the president has taken decisive action and showed that he can provide some breathing room for people at the pump. The gas price, which is such an important price in our economy, is down $1.50 from its peak in June of last year, and that means real breathing room for working Americans.” Bernstein made the White House message clear ahead of the State of the Union that Americans should expect their monthly costs to improve. “Prices are high but they are moving in the right direction,” Bernstein said.
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