US Economy | Image:Pixabay
Jared Bernstein, Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, expressed optimism about the US economy in 2024, citing higher consumer spending during the holiday season, real wage gains over the last nine months, and a notable jump in consumer confidence.
On “Fox News Sunday,” Bernstein highlighted that if President Joe Biden were to secure a second term in the November 2024 presidential election, his focus would remain on reducing costs for Americans.
The data showed a positive trend in the economy, with a boost in US consumer confidence to a five-month high in December, as reported by the Conference Board on December 20.
The University of Michigan’s benchmark Consumer Sentiment Index also experienced a nearly 14 per cent increase, its largest jump in over three decades. The optimism is reflected in Americans’ confidence that inflation is on a downward trajectory.
Throughout 2023, inflation has eased, with the Consumer Price Index showing a decrease from an annual average increase of 6.4 per cent at the beginning of the year to 3.1 per cent by November. Bernstein highlighted the drop in gasoline prices to below $3 a gallon in more than half the states.
Bernstein noted that spending during the Christmas season was robust, with an 8 per cent increase in restaurant spending from November 1 to Christmas Eve, a 6 per cent rise in online sales spending, and an overall 3 per cent increase in retail spending.
Despite the positive economic outlook, the Biden administration remains vigilant about geopolitical risks, including Russia’s ongoing conflict in Ukraine and disruptions in the Red Sea caused by Houthi attacks.
Bernstein also mentioned gains in new business startups, particularly among people of color, reflecting increased optimism and confidence in the US economy.
While monitoring rising credit card debt, the administration views it as returning to normal levels of delinquencies or debt levels.
Bernstein stressed on the record increases in wealth among Americans of all income levels and people of color, which are expected to offset the rising debt.
(With Reuters Inputs)