The job market is booming. Inflation is falling. But you’d never know it by looking at President Biden’s poll numbers.President Joe Biden has a lot to be proud of. Riding off a State of the Union speech earlier this month that felt like a victory lap, he and his Cabinet have been blitzing across the country to sharpen his economic message. The Biden administration has sought to contrast Republican threats to Social Security and Medicare with its own legislative work to invest in infrastructure and manufacturing, and bring down the costs of education, health care, and energy.
The image of the accelerating “Biden boom” that the White House has been trying to project is rooted in economic data: unemployment is now at its lowest level since 1969, January saw the seventh straight month of slowing inflation, the economy has continued to grow despite fears of a recession, and over 12 million jobs have been created since Biden took office two years ago.
But why doesn’t it feel that way? The average American is still likely to say the economy is in relatively dire straits, according to Gallup polling data, and large numbers fear worsening inflation, higher interest rates and unemployment, and the possibility of a recession in 2023. Some 80 percent of American adults think the economy is either in poor or fair shape, according to January data from Pew Research Center.
The short answer is, of course, inflation. Prices are still much higher at this point than they were two years ago, and news about expensive eggs and expensive housing are likely still putting a damper on our collective sense of an improving economy.
The White House and its allies face an economic and political conundrum: though inflation is still high, almost every major economic indicator shows that the economy is healthier than when Biden took office, but the general mood among Americans is still sour.