White House: 2023 ‘a Good Year’ Economically, But It ‘Takes a While’ for People to Feel It

On Friday’s broadcast of CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” White House National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard stated that 2023 is “a good year for the American worker, the American economy.” But it “takes a while” for people to feel that “given just how much Americans have been through, but I think it’s starting to really take shape” and that’s reflected in consumer sentiment data.

Brainard said, “We’re closing out the year with inflation on a six-month basis at 2%. That’s the pre-pandemic benchmark. That’s a very significant milestone. And with the 2023 close, it’s worth noting just how much progress we’ve seen. Not only has inflation come down faster than even the most optimistic forecast, but growth is very resilient and employment is very strong. Just thinking back to a year ago, that consensus was we couldn’t get to where we are today on inflation without a spike in unemployment and a recession, but the unemployment rate’s been below 4% for 22 months running now and we’ve got more data today and yesterday confirming economic growth is robust. And if you look at after-tax income growth for Americans, 3.7% this year, that’s after adjusting for inflation. So, yes, a good year for the American worker, the American economy.”

Later, after the discussion turned to polling data on views of the economy, she stated, “Look, when I talk to the president, what he wants to know always is, what do these good economic statistics mean for Americans, does it mean they have more breathing room at the end of the month? And I think now we can definitively say the answer to that is yes. If you look over the course of his presidency, the Joint Economic Committee is estimating that people have $3,500 more per year to spend even after adjusting for the kinds of purchases that they would have made and price changes there. Wealth is up 37%. We are seeing it across the board, you think about 401(k)s, people are seeing gains. And that takes a while, given just how much Americans have been through, but I think it’s starting to really take shape and you saw that in the jump in consumer sentiment this morning, which was so good to see.”

She added that the work of lowering costs and keeping the economy strong is continuing.

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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