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White House economists tout recovery in recent months

The officials pointed to a record number of states with unemployment rates below 3 percent and a 43-day streak of declining gas prices.

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Senior administration officials in the White House touted the economic recovery under President Joe Biden on Wednesday, citing low unemployment across the country and a six-week decline in gas prices. 

The officials spoke to press on background via zoom Wednesday ahead of the Quarter 2 GDP report to be released Thursday.

The U.S. has “recovered quite well” to the economic challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, the officials said.

“For the past few months, we’ve added 370,000 to 375,000 jobs per month, which is a significant number of jobs in any month but it’s been especially important as we’ve been trying to get everyone back to work after the pandemic,” one official said.

The unemployment rate is currently less than 3 percent in 21 states, which the officials noted as a record.

Soaring gas prices have been a source of contention in recent months, but officials said things are changing with a 43-day streak of declining prices with a drop of 72 cents per gallon over that time period, a decline fo about 14 percent.

The current national average is $4.30 and one of the economists on the call projected continued decline for the next several weeks with hopes to bring the average down to an even $4.

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“The President has said repeatedly his top priority is bringing down inflation. He understands how hard that is for families,” an official said. “And as we make this transition from an economy that has been you know, running in this sprint to recover from the pandemic to get out of that deep hole that the pandemic left the economy in and into the kind of strong stable shared growth that we want to see … we have to make sure that we make this transition smoothly, and that we don’t go back to the kind of economy like we had pre-pandemic where too often we have low growth, low wage gains, and all workers were not benefiting and our communities were not benefiting from the economic growth that was happening.”

Officials said Biden is prioritizing two bills currently in Congress, a reconciliation package that “is going to be allowing big pharmaceutical companies and Medicaid to finally negotiate lower drug prices while also lowering premiums under the Affordable Care Act” and a bill expanding American manufacture of computer chips.

“we have to make sure that we make this transition smoothly, and that we don’t go back to the kind of economy like we had pre pandemic where too often we have low growth, low wage gains, and all workers were not benefiting and our communities were not benefiting from the economic growth that was happening.

“(Biden) grew up in a family where if the price of gas ticked up a few cents, that was a dinner table discussion,” an official said. “So he feels these pressures in his bones. And when when he came to the White House, he detailed his economic team to do everything we could to achieve the core goal of Bidenomics, which I would say is the following: if the pie is growing, then everybody who’s helping to grow that pie ought to get a fair slice.”

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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