W.H. Council of Economic Advisers’ Bernstein: Imagine ‘This Inflation’ with 9% Unemployment – Ports Improving, But There’s ‘Strong Demand’

On Monday’s “CNN Newsroom,” White House Council of Economic Advisers member Jared Bernstein discussed inflation and stated that there has been a “significant increase” in the performance of goods getting through ports and onto shelves, but “there’s very strong demand.” And “Imagine if we were going through this inflation and unemployment was 9% instead of below 4%. It would be a very different story.”

Bernstein said, “We have a situation where very strong demand, and by that, I mean GDP growth rates that we haven’t seen for 40 years, let’s not lose this backdrop. We have the tightest labor market we’ve seen perhaps in generations. Unemployment fell faster last year than any year on record, over six million jobs created. Against that backdrop, we have the supply constraints that you just talked about. By the way, this is a global problem. Inflation is elevated in countries across the globe. So, that tells you that it’s not just a unique American problem. But we, at the president’s direction, are doing everything we can to help the very people in that story when it comes to ports, trucking, semiconductors, lowering kitchen table costs, protecting consumers, pursuing more competition.”

He added, “We are working 24 and 7 to get the ports working 24 and 7, to get goods from ship to shelf as fast as they ever have. And by the way, I don’t want to let this go by, because you actually had it in your report, of the many numbers that were out there, 13% increase in throughput through the ports, in goods getting through the ports, getting to the shelves. So, there’s actually a significant increase in the performance of that part of our chain. The difference there is that there’s very strong demand. Well, where does that come from? It comes from one of the strongest economies, one of the strongest labor markets on record. And I don’t think we want to lose that backdrop. Imagine if we were going through this inflation and unemployment was 9% instead of below 4%. It would be a very different story.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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