Consumer prices are still rising, but the rate of inflation slowed in June for the 12th straight month to its lowest in more than two years — a 0.2 percent increase from May 2023 and a 3 percent increase from a year ago.
Despite warnings of a looming recession from economists and analysts, the June consumer price index shows signs of a possible economic rebound. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said earlier this year that unemployment would have to rise to get inflation under control. Instead, overall unemployment has remained low, but that’s not true for Black America.
The Fed has expressed concern that a tight labor market pushes wages and inflation higher.
“Labor demand still substantially exceeds the supply of available workers,” Powell said.
The Fed has remained committed to bringing down inflation by raising interest rates, but that commitment is showing signs of affecting the labor market unevenly.
The unemployment rate for whites fell in June to 3.1 percent, the Labor Department reported a week ago. By comparison, Black unemployment has risen for the second month in a row from a record low of 4.7 percent in April to 6 percent in June — the highest since August and almost double that of white workers.
Black workers have accounted for 90 percent of the spike in U.S. joblessness since April.
The consumer price index (CPI) numbers, which measure inflation, could give the Federal Reserve some breathing room as it looks to bring down inflation that was running around a 9 percent annual rate this time last year, the highest in more than 40 years.
Declines in used vehicle and airline prices and soft gains in food prices helped keep the rate of inflation lower, while prices continue to rise for housing.
As President Joe Biden prepares for the 2024 presidential election, he is drawing attention to policies and actions he refers to as “Bidenomics.”
In an interview with The Black Wall Street Times, White House National Economic Council Deputy Director Bharat Ramamurti praised Bidenomics, saying policies implemented under Biden point to a healthy economy under a president who has tried to apply racial equity to the economic sector.
Ramamurti mentioned the 13 million jobs created since Biden took office, which he says is more growth in a 2-year period than any previous four-year term.
Photos: Christopher “Mad Dog” Thomas and son, Rian Gatewood-Hillestad shop at Pete’s Market in Chicago’s Garfield Neighborhood, Aug. 15, 2019. (AP /Amr Alfiky) / Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks at the Brookings Institute, Nov. 30, 2022. (AP/Nathan Howard)