“Our economy had zero percent inflation in the month of July. Zero percent," President Joe Biden boasted Wednesday, citing a lesser-used Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) measure, rather than the more commonly used statistic, which shows inflation actually jumped 8.5%.
Pres. Biden led off a press event with the claim:
"Before I begin today, I want to say a word about the news that came out relative to the economy. Actually, I just want to say a number: zero. Today, we received news our economy had zero percent inflation in the month of July. Zero percent.
“Here’s what that means: while the price of some things went up last month, the price of other things went down by the same amount. The result: zero inflation last month. But, people are still hurting. But, zero inflation last month.”
And, yes, if you’re comparing the seasonally-adjusted change from June 2022 to July 2022 for “urban consumers,” that’s true, as the BLS report released Wednesday notes:
"The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged in July on a seasonally adjusted basis.”
However, the more broadly analyzed and reported inflation statistic is the year-to-year (July 2022 vs. July 2021) increase in inflation for “all items” – which rose 8.5% - as BLS reports in the next sentence of its release:
“Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 8.5 percent before seasonal adjustment.”
Social media was quick call out Biden and post video of his disingenuous boast. “In Joe Biden's America, men are women, and 8.5% inflation = 0% inflation,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) tweeted, replying to Townhall’s post of a video clip of Biden’s claim.
Biden also appeared to conflate his “zero percent inflation” statistic with the “core inflation” number - which excludes price increases for food and energy products. Immediately after citing his “zero” inflation statistic, Biden said:
“Economists look at a measure of inflation that ignores food and energy prices, and they call it ‘core inflation.’ That’s about the lowest amount in several months.”
But, as BLS reports, core inflation wasn’t “zero” – it actually increased, on both a June-to-July and a year-to-year basis:
“The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent in July.”
“The all items less food and energy index rose 5.9 percent over the last 12 months.”