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Yellen upbeat on US economy, says Bidenomics is driving investment, job growth

Published Aug 14, 2023 05:04AM ET Updated Aug 14, 2023 07:16PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a press conference at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China, July 9, 2023. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
 
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By Andrea Shalal

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) -Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made a robust pitch in the swing state of Nevada on Monday that President Joe Biden's policies are powering historic job growth and rebuilding competitiveness, despite polls showing Americans remain skeptical.

Speaking at a union hall just off the famous Las Vegas strip, Yellen underscored the importance of the climate-focused Inflation Reduction Act, which marks its anniversary on Wednesday, especially in a summer that has made headlines with record heat and climate change-related disasters.

"It’s our nation’s boldest-ever climate action. And it is beginning to spark an economic renaissance in communities that had been left behind," Yellen said at International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 357, after touring a nearby training center where workers learn to work on clean-energy projects.

Yellen said her visit to Nevada, a key battleground state in the 2024 presidential election, is part of a major push by Biden and his cabinet to promote the positive impact of the IRA and other policies that she said are boosting long-term growth and making the United States more resilient to future shocks.

"Americans are beginning to see in their daily lives the impact of that, but there's a lot more coming down the pike," she said, adding that polls already showed a large share of Americans felt good about their personal situation, even if they had weaker views on the broader economy.

Yellen said China's slowing growth, Russia's war in Ukraine and climate change could still pose risks to the U.S. economy and did not rule out a recession, but she felt upbeat.

"I feel very good about U.S. prospects overall," Yellen told reporters, noting that inflation and the unemployment rate had both dropped below 4%, and that the U.S. economy was continuing to expand.

The U.S. economy has outrun recession warnings with record-low unemployment, strong wage gains and better-than-expected GDP growth, but many voters who backed Biden in 2020 think the economy has fared poorly, and may not vote for him in the 2024 election, a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showed.

Nevada’s economy, which is heavily service-driven, has largely recovered from the pandemic, but its unemployment rate of 5.4% is the highest of the 50 U.S. states, according to June data from the nonpartisan public officials' association the National Conference of State Legislators.

Asked about Nevada's higher unemployment rate, she said, the IRA had brought down health care costs for citizens, and clean energy tax credits were helping diversify the economy beyond the traditional tourism.

"Workers are better off than they were last year. Real average hourly earnings have grown over the past year – meaning that wage gains are outpacing inflation," she said in her speech.

She said over 13 million jobs had been created since Biden took office and the share of prime-age Americans - those between ages 25 and 54 - participating in the workforce had reached its highest level in over 20 years.

The share of prime-age female workers currently working was the highest it has ever been, Yellen said, noting that jobless rates for Black and Latino Americans were also among the lowest on record.

"These are not abstract statistics," Yellen told the IBEW members. "These are real Americans back at work – able to put food on the table, support their families, and save for retirement."

IRA'S IMPACT ON LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES

Yellen said a central goal of the IRA was revitalizing communities that had suffered industrial decline or were left behind. Targeted bonuses had helped concentrate investments in clean energy, electric vehicles and batteries in counties that previously lagged in earnings, college graduation rates, and child poverty rates, she said.

She also touched on the challenges of transitioning away from fossil fuels, citing the risks posed by over-concentration of key inputs such as batteries, solar panels and critical minerals in a handful of countries.

She named no countries, but a recent report by the International Energy Agency said China holds at least 60% of the world’s manufacturing capacity for most mass-manufactured technologies, such as solar photovoltaic and wind systems.

Yellen said one of the goals of the IRA, which includes $500 billion in new spending and tax breaks, was to build a diversified clean-energy supply chain and "reduce chokepoints, mitigate disruptions, and protect our economic security."

The full impact won't be known until last year, when taxpayers claim tax creditrs, but a Treasury official said the private sector has announced over $110 billion in new clean- energy investments since the bill's passage a year ago.

Yellen upbeat on US economy, says Bidenomics is driving investment, job growth
 

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Comments (9)
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Aug 15, 2023 3:33AM ET
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Bidenomics are working. And he's done miraculously well. trumps cosying up to putin emboldened him to start his neo-colonialist war and landgrab in Ukraine, deliberately tightening and driving up energy prices in advance, causing another shock to the world economy, just as it was starting to recover after a covid-pandemic that had also been criminally mismanaged by trump..
Mike Roddy
Mike Roddy Aug 15, 2023 12:28AM ET
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if you're unemployed, nothing feels right. but if you have a good job right now, it feels like a goldilocks senerio. GDP is UP, and corporate earnings are UP. For the most part, the market is UP, reversing a 2 year bear market. The unemployment rate is down. Inflation is plunging, and there's no sign of recession. it's a frigging miracle. If we didn't get that last round of tax cuts for the supremely wealthy hadn't maxed out the deficit, this county would be sitting pretty.
Michael Byrne
Michael Byrne Aug 14, 2023 10:30PM ET
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How's that $4 / gallon gas working out for you?
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Aug 14, 2023 10:30PM ET
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just fine, I drive an EV..
Justin Meier
Justin Meier Aug 14, 2023 10:13PM ET
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This is whats called pissing on your back and telling you its raining.
Manfred Kruger
Manfred Kruger Aug 14, 2023 10:00PM ET
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Yellen is an unashamed lying political hack
Warm Camp
Warm Camp Aug 14, 2023 7:19PM ET
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The same old lying girl.
Nick Glaser
Nick Glaser Aug 14, 2023 6:02PM ET
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What are her motivations to say these things. This has been going on since covid when she said the inflation then was just a blip. All to benifit the establishment’s spin
Gary Piccone
Gary Piccone Aug 14, 2023 4:07PM ET
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I wonder where the $25 trillion is coming from for the transition.
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp Aug 14, 2023 6:10AM ET
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New spending to reduce inflation 🤣🤡🤡
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Aug 14, 2023 6:10AM ET
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And it's working.
Mark Jannetty
Mark Jannetty Aug 14, 2023 6:10AM ET
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Brad Albright that's the most hair brain comment you ever made half bright
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Aug 14, 2023 6:10AM ET
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Mark Jannetty Another MAGAloon arguing against empirical reality.
 
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