- The consumer price index rose 3.2% from a year ago in July, just below estimates.
- President Joe Biden said July's consumer price index indicated a strong economy, despite a small rise in inflation.
WASHINGTON — Despite a small rise in inflation last month over June's rate, President Joe Biden on Thursday insisted that July's consumer price index of 3.2% was only one facet of a broader picture of U.S. economic strength.
"Annual inflation has fallen by around two thirds since last summer," Biden said in a statement, calling to mind the soaring inflation rates this time last year that forced the Federal Reserve to accelerate interest rate hikes in an effort to cool down prices.
"We've made this progress while maintaining the broad strength of our economy," he said, noting that unemployment remained near 50 year lows.
And while 3.2% is technically an increase over June's year-over-year rate of 3.0%, it is below analysts' estimates of 3.3%.
For Biden, who has spent much of the last year dogged by questions about high prices, signs of prices stabilizing without any jump in unemployment increasingly suggests the U.S. economy could be on track for a so-called "soft landing," without a recession.
This would be a boon to the president's reelection campaign, and force Republicans to look for new issues to criticize the president over.
"I'm sure they'll find something," Biden joked during a speech Wednesday in New Mexico.
Still, there are signs the strong economy is not paying political dividends to the president, at least not yet.
Recent polls show Biden's approval ratings on his handling of the economy stuck in the low 30s, just 15 months out from the 2024 election.