Dec 13, 2023 - Economy

The White House's 2023 economic year in review

Lael Brainard, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, and President Biden during a "Bidenomics" event in October. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

As analysts, commentators, and journalists look back at the economy in 2023, the White House is out with its own offering, emphasizing that — contrary to many predictions 12 months ago — activity has remained robust while inflation has fallen sharply.

Driving the news: On Tuesday, the Biden administration released a year-in-review memo from Lael Brainard, director of the National Economic Council.

  • "Over the last year, economic growth has been strong, while inflation has declined by two thirds, and unemployment has remained below 4% for the longest stretch in 50 years," Brainard wrote.
  • "Supply chains have been rebuilt, and productivity is up. American workers are finishing the year in a stronger position than before the pandemic — with wages and wealth up by more than inflation and strong employment thanks in part to the President's Bidenomics agenda."

Between the lines: Some Democrats have backed away from the White House's boasts about "Bidenomics'" achievements, noting polling that shows voter dissatisfaction with economic conditions.

  • But the White House economic team, as the new memo shows, sees plenty of good news to emphasize heading into an election year.

By the numbers: The memo notes that average hourly earnings for non-managerial workers are now up 1.2% over the last year and 2.7% since before the pandemic, even after adjusting for inflation.

  • That's more than double the 0.5% annual gains in real hourly earnings, on average, for the three decades before the pandemic.
  • It notes a 37% rise in real median net worth since before the pandemic, according to the Fed's Survey of Consumer Finances.

The bottom line: The polling on the economy is consistently bad, but advisers with the president's ear still see a lot to like about the Biden economy.

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