Inflation and missing workers: A dismal economic update
- BY Sarah Coffey
President Biden tried to take a victory lap during his State of the Union Address a few weeks ago, but the economy is far from improving. The latest numbers reveal that the economy is off to a dismal start in 2023, and Americans have this administration to thank for that.
Inflation and low workforce participation continue
A quick survey of economic trends in January reveals the continuation of high inflation, a staggering number of open jobs, and millions of Americans still missing from the workforce.
- Unemployment claims are continuing to rise. In mid-February, they rose by 13,000 in the week ending February 11 and continuing claims rose by 38,000.
- There are 1.9 million Americans on unemployment.
- The labor force participation rate is still below pre-pandemic highs. And compared to before the pandemic, there are still about 2.7 million individuals missing from the workforce.
- Meanwhile, there are currently 11 million open jobs across the country.
Perhaps the most distressing update is that the consumer price index (CPI), a measure in the change of prices over time, increased in January 2023 alone by 0.5 percent—this is five times higher than the increase in the previous month (December 2022), when it rose 0.1 percent. Inflation currently sits at 6.4 percent.
These numbers are hardly achievements worth touting for the Biden administration.
Two clear solutions: REINS and work
President Biden’s policy decisions got us here. Outrageous federal spending, restrictions on domestic energy production, lower-than-normal rates of workforce participation, and record numbers of stringent regulations have only served to make the cost of doing business even higher, the value of the dollar lower, and inflation a crushing burden for American families.
However, there are two bold policy solutions that could help the economy rebound, prices drop, and Americans move from welfare to work.
One is to rein in spending at the federal level. President Biden has imposed billions of dollars in expensive, job-killing regulations—more than any other modern American president. The result is outrageous government spending by unelected government bureaucrats with virtually no checks and balances.
The solution is the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which would require legislative approval for any rule with an annual price tag of $100 million of more before it can be implemented. Regulatory abuse suffocates businesses, drives up government spending, and increases consumer prices—and this policy reform would REIN in this regulation without representation.
Another solution is to get people back to work. Despite millions of open jobs, millions of Americans are staying out of the workforce. Meanwhile, the welfare rolls continue to grow. This is in large part because work requirements in welfare are still waived in the wake of the pandemic. Reinstating work requirements for able-bodied adults would help move Americans that are in the best position to work off the sidelines and back into the workforce, simultaneously raising family incomes and helping to ease the worker shortage.
These two policy solutions are strongly supported by majorities of likely American voters. A poll from the Center for Excellence in Polling revealed that more than three-quarters of likely voters across political parties support work requirements in welfare—and 68 percent support requiring congressional approval of costly regulations.
President Biden’s economy continues to struggle along at a dismal clip. Meanwhile, reining in spending and getting Americans back to work would dramatically benefit America’s economic situation, and it’s up to state leaders and federal lawmakers to implement these solutions.