Ahead of President Joe Biden’s speech on the economy in Virginia on Thursday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre touted economic growth when asked by FOX Business Wednesday about how the president was going to respond to fears of recession.
“There are fears that big tech layoffs and bank layoffs will ripple through the broader economy,” journalist Grady Trimble told Jean-Pierre. “When the president speaks about the economy tomorrow, how will he respond to these fears and fears of a recession?”
While the press secretary first acknowledged Americans’ “fears” before arguing that jobs and inflation data prove the economy is “rebuilding” since Biden’s tenure.
“We understand the fears. But what I will say is that and I’ve talked about this a few times, that there is data, employment data that we’ve seen, job offer data. employment that we have seen where layoffs remain (at a) record”, replied Jean-Pierre. “I talked about the consumer price index. I talked about the EPI numbers that we’ve seen as we’ve seen inflation continue to decline over the last six months. And that’s is important as we talk about the economy, as we talk about how the economy is building, we are creating jobs, we are rebuilding.”
THE ECONOMY IS LIKELY SLOW BUT REMAINS STRONG TO END THE YEAR
But according to the latest jobs data, hiring in the United States fell in December at the lowest pace in two years. Employers added 223,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department said in its monthly payrolls report, surpassing the 200,000 jobs predicted by economists at Refinitiv.
Still, it marks a slight deceleration from November’s downward-revised gain of 256,000 and is the worst month for job creation since December 2020. The jobless rate unexpectedly fell to 3.5%, a five-decade low.
The housing market has also been hit hard by slowing growth due to rising lending rates: sales of existing homes have fallen for 11 consecutive months.
Economists also expect Thursday’s fourth-quarter 2022 GDP reading to come in at 2.6%, down from a 3.2% pace in the third quarter on strong consumer spending and rising exports. .
“You look at the GDP, it is increasing. We have increased by 3.2%,” Jean-Pierre said. “All of this is important as we talk about this, as we talk about what we’re seeing across the board. I don’t want to talk specifically about private companies and tech layoffs, but there is, again, data there that shows the economy is growing.”
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Despite a likely second consecutive quarter of GDP expansion, the economy is expected to slow and then slip into a recession over the next few months as rising interest rates, engineered by the Federal Reserve, are wreaking havoc.
“It shows that we are indeed moving towards stable and steady growth, which is important,” the press secretary said of GDP, “which is what the president has been working towards, and you saw it with his la economic policy which (he) has been working on for the past two years.”
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Megan Henney and Ken Martin of FOX Business contributed to this report.