President Joe Biden assured Americans Monday that the rising consumer costs seen around the country are short-term, and that economic recovery from the pandemic "will have its ups and downs."
Biden said in the six months since he has taken office, the economy has rebounded and more than 3 million jobs have been added. He said the growth has gone from 60,000 jobs a month under the Trump administration to now 600,000 new jobs a month under his administration.
"We brought this economy back from the brink and we’ve designed our strategy not only to provide for a temporary boost but to lay the foundation for a long-term boom that brings everyone along," Biden said.
"That’s why we designed the American Rescue Plan to help not just everyone at once, but over the course of a full year and beyond so we can help families and small businesses weather the ups and downs as the economy recovers from a historic pandemic — and there are going to be ups and downs."
Consumer prices in the country last month saw the largest inflation spike since 2008.
The pickup in inflation will likely intensify a debate at the Federal Reserve and between the Biden administration and congressional Republicans about how persistent the accelerating price increases will prove to be.
"We know that as our economy has come roaring back, we’ve seen some price increases. Some folks have raised worries that this could be a sign of persistent inflation but that’s not our view," Biden said Monday as he spoke from the State Dining Room.
The Fed and the White House have made clear their belief that the current bout of inflation will prove temporary. As supply chain bottlenecks are resolved and the economy returns to normal, they suggest, the price spikes for such items as used cars, hotel rooms and clothing will fade.
"Our experts believe and the data shows that price increases were expected and are expected to be temporary. Reality is, you can’t flip the global economic light (switch) back on and not expect this to happen," Biden said.
As the economy rebounds, the president is also now confronting the worrying reality of rising COVID-19 cases and deaths — and the limitations of his ability to combat the persistent vaccine hesitance responsible for the summer backslide.
Cases of COVID-19 have tripled over the past three weeks, and hospitalizations and deaths are rising among unvaccinated people.
While the rates are still sharply down from their January highs, officials are concerned by the reversing trends and what they consider needless illness and death. And cases are expected to continue to rise in the coming weeks.
Much of the worsening problem is being driven by the delta variant first identified in India, which has since hit the United Kingdom and other countries.
About 186 million Americans have received at least one shot, but another 90 million eligible Americans haven't. Officials are trying to overcome a refusal among some — particularly conservative, rural white people — to get vaccinated, but it's unclear how to do that.
"This virus doesn’t have to hold you back any longer. It doesn’t have to hold our economy back any longer — but the only way we put it behind us is if more Americans get vaccinated," Biden said, along with a plea to "please, go" and get the shot.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.