The Biden Economy Is... Actually Pretty Good

Ryan Heshmati

August 04, 2023

Republicans have been attacking President Biden’s performance on the economy since he took office. Their attacks seem effective at swaying public opinion, with a late June Associated Press article pointing to a 34% approval of the president’s handling of the economy. In the words of author Orson Scott Card, however, “Just because you believe it doesn’t make it so.” Despite attacks from Republicans and pessimism from the public, the economy is actually doing quite well when analyzed on actual metrics.

In the last year or so, inflation has been a global phenomenon many central banks have been forced to deal with. Still, the United States seems to be past the mountain, with inflation falling to 3% in June, according to the AP’s Christopher Rugaber. Jereme Powell’s aggressive rate hikes have effectively curbed inflation, although it is worth noting that high-interest rates have created hurdles for prospective home buyers.

Beyond inflation, unemployment remains incredibly encouraging. The Bureau of Labor Statistics pegged unemployment at 3.6% in June, with 209,000 jobs created in the same month. The labor market’s resilience has long been Democrats’ point of pride, even as GDP growth went negative last year. In a July statement, the White House touted over 13 million jobs created so far in the president’s first term. Critics, though, point to pandemic recovery as the reason for the strong numbers, not anything the president has done.

GDP growth is yet another positive indicator for the Biden administration. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports annualized GDP growth at 2.4%. Markets have reacted positively to the economic activity that has occurred in 2023. The S&P 500 index has surged double digits year-to-date, recovering from losses in the previous year. 

The American public has yet to acknowledge a positive economic state for the nation, but the metrics sure seem to do so. Inflation, which has been the top concern surrounding the economy for some time now, seems to be under control. Further, the labor market looks robust, with low, single-digit unemployment remaining steady. The good news has not been lost on the stock market, with indices seeing strong recoveries year-to-date. The economy is not perfect, potentially best evidenced by a core effect of the Federal Reserve’s fight against inflation: high-interest rates. Borrowing has been made significantly more difficult, and the Fed last raised rates another 25 basis points after a brief pause. Ultimately, despite the current interest rate situation, the economy appears strong, and the disapproval for President Biden’s handling of it may be too severe.