Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported its initial estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.7% for 2021 and 6.9% for the fourth quarter.
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“Today’s announcement of higher-than-expected fourth quarter GDP growth caps off a year of record-breaking economic gains under the Biden administration that were unimaginable in the spring of 2020, when unemployment was nearing 15% and GDP had cratered. With the strongest yearly economic growth in nearly 40 years, unemployment down to 3.9% and the largest single-year job gains in history, our nation and our economy are on the path to building back stronger than we were before.
“Consumer spending and a robust labor market recovery—both of which are testaments to the effectiveness of the American Rescue Plan and emergency pandemic relief, which buffered households and businesses against the worst impacts of the recession—are propelling this recovery forward. And the administration continues to expand the availability of vaccines, boosters, masks and tests to mitigate the most harmful impacts of Omicron and ensure our recovery stays on track.
“The pandemic has caused immeasurable pain to families and exposed underlying fragilities—in our supply chains, in our care infrastructure and in the lack of household economic security—that we must address. Anemic public investment, corporate concentration and just-in-time inventory practices have weakened our supply chains over recent decades, such that pandemic-induced disruptions and a sudden shift in demand for goods over services have created bottlenecks that have pushed up prices. Workers caring for loved ones continue to face the impossible task of managing work and care responsibilities in circumstances they were never able to plan for, which is bad for families, businesses and households—the foundation of our economy.“Congress and the White House have taken significant steps to address current pandemic disruptions and put our economy on a trajectory to address long-standing challenges. As today's report shows, business inventories are already starting to recover, and the recently enacted bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will help fix our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. By completing work on the bipartisan America COMPETES Act—introduced in the House yesterday—and by advancing Build Back Better’s common-sense investments in families, care and clean technology, Congress has the opportunity to cement these gains and continue the progress to create high-quality jobs, lower costs for households, mitigate the harmful effects of climate change and promote long-term growth that is broadly shared.”