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Key White House economic advisor says U.S. economy is slowing, but resilient

  • National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said the U.S. economy is resilient despite Federal Reserve interest rate hikes that aim to curb historic inflation.
  • Deese said the U.S. is positioned to become a place of investment, innovation and production within the next few years.
  • The November jobs report showed better-than-expected job growth, but stocks have fallen this week amid concerns about more Fed rate hikes and a possible recession.

The U.S. economy is showing “continued resilience” despite a predictable slowdown, a top White House economic advisor said Wednesday.

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said low rates of credit card delinquency and mortgage concerns point to resiliency in household balance sheets, while the labor market and the savings rate also indicate steadier growth. He also pointed to slowing inflation as a positive sign for healthier economic growth.

“We need to see a transition to a more stable growth trajectory, but I think if you look at the key elements that you need as part of that, some easing on the inflation side … we’re starting to see some evidence in that direction,” Deese said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

The November labor market report released Friday showed job growth was better than expected, as nonfarm payrolls increased by 263,000. The unemployment rate was 3.7%.

White House economic adviser Brian Deese speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, March 31, 2022.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The Federal Reserve has steadily raised interest rates in an effort to bring down the highest inflation in 40 years, contributing to concerns about a coming recession. The improving labor market, combined with a 0.6% increase in average hourly earnings last month, has put pressure on the Fed to continue raising rates.

The Fed’s benchmark overnight borrowing rate reached a target range of 3.75%-4% after six consecutive hikes this year. Major U.S. stock indexes have struggled this week, in part due to concerns of a slowing economy and expectations of more rate increases ahead.

The Fed is expected to hike interest rates again at its meeting next week.

Despite the concerns investors hold, economic resilience will position the U.S. to become a center of “investment, productivity and innovation” over the next few years, Deese said.

“We were out in (Phoenix, Arizona) yesterday with a set of CEOs who all underscored this, that even as we’re looking at this transition and navigating through this historically unique transition, the United States looks better as a prospect to invest, and that’s going to be a driver,” Deese said. “That’s going be where we get our innovation and our productive capacity, beyond the next month or two.”

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