As unemployment claims remain comparatively low and overall inflation rates decline, new data also shows fresh drops in the prices for gas.
The national average early Friday was just above $3.43 a gallon for regular gas, lower — although by less than a cent — than the average from the day before and below the average from a week prior, which was $3.491, six cents higher. A month ago, the average price was lower, but Friday’s average cost per gallon was lower than the average price seen a year prior. An article from AAA, which collects and reports data on the current status of the national market for gas, credited both low demand compared to the same periods in the prior year and boosts to the national supply for the dips in price.
At earlier stages of the struggle to contain gas prices — an effort reflective of an essentially worldwide face-off with high rates of inflation throughout recent months and years, the Biden administration announced releases of some of what was held in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a nationally stored stockpile of fuel supplies. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was furious about that decision, characterizing it as an attempt to trick the American people, which is odd. Per her expectations, was Biden not supposed to do anything about the situation after all, no matter the GOP inclination to turn even imagined signs of economic distress into a political attack line? Her idea seemed to be that Biden was acting for political purposes because of the proximity to the 2022 elections, and she eventually got the House to pass a measure that would block him from doing so in his handling of those reserves.
Political ambitions seem difficult to easily define, making even the idea of putting Greene’s initiative into practice tough to see as feasible. Elsewhere in the economy, the report from the federal Labor Department on the job market in January showed a dramatic rate of expansion, with roughly twice as many jobs added last month as were added in December 2022. The January total also surpassed the monthly average for 2022, when totals were already high as the U.S. further recovered from the economic upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic — which wasn’t necessarily a given at the rate the country has seen. There were standout numbers from the job market in January in industries including hospitality.