Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo touted President Biden’s progress on the economy following the August jobs report, while also acknowledging that “inflation still exists” and poses a challenge for Americans.
“I think the reality is that inflation still exists, and it is something that people still see on a daily basis when they go to the grocery store or pay their rent or pay their mortgage,” Raimondo said in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” that will air on Sunday. “And we have to know that. That’s still a challenge for folks.”
“That being said, if you look at where we are today compared to when the president took office, it’s an unbelievable story of progress,” she added.
The August jobs report, which was released on Friday, indicated that the labor market may finally be cooling after an intense cycle of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve in an attempt to rein in inflation.
Inflation, which skyrocketed to a 40-year high last June, has eased in recent months, falling to 3.2 percent in July. While it has improved, inflation has remained above the 2-percent level sought by the Fed, and the labor market has been surprisingly resilient to its rate hikes.
However, the positive movement in Friday’s jobs report makes it increasingly likely that the Fed will forgo a rate hike during September’s meeting and could potentially mark a turning point in its fight against inflation.
Raimondo also praised the U.S. economy’s recovery from the pandemic, arguing that the country has “emerged the fastest and the strongest” from COVID-19.
“If you had told me when we started — based on where the economy was, how high the unemployment rate was, how disrupted supply chains were — that we’d be sitting here now with this jobs picture, I might not have believed it,” Raimondo said. “I mean, it’s just a stunning amount of progress.”
“So, I don’t want to minimize what Americans are feeling, and that’s why we get up and go to work every day,” she added. “But this economy, by any measure, is doing incredibly well and much better than anyone could have predicted, I think, three years ago when we started.”