Headline RoundupSeptember 14th, 2021

Contradictory Data Fuels Split Narratives on Economy, Inflation

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Recent data about inflation, wages and poverty is driving confusion about the state of the U.S. economy. The Labor Department announced Tuesday that consumer prices rose 0.3% in August from July, another monthly rise but the slowest increase since January; consumer prices also rose annually again in August, up 5.3%. Producer prices rose in August by 8.3% annually, the highest jump since records began in 2009. Meanwhile, poverty reached a record low in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Roughly 9.1% of Americans qualified as poor in 2020 according to the Census Bureau, down from 11.8% in 2019 and the lowest figure since records began in 1967. Average earnings for non-farm employees also rose in August for the fifth consecutive month, but inflation counteracts some of that — wages adjusted for inflation fell 0.5% annually in August, according to the Wall Street Journal. And despite the record-high 10.9 million U.S. job openings at the end of July, the economy remains over 5 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic workforce. The 235,000 jobs added in August were short of expectations.

Left-rated sources focused more on the decline in poverty, often framing it as a direct result of the trillions of dollars of pandemic-era stimulus from the federal government. Right-rated outlets, as well as business-focused center-rated outlets like the Wall Street Journal, instead highlighted inflation and rises in consumer prices, as well as concerns about high government spending and generous federal unemployment benefits.

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