Inflation was not 9% when Biden took office in 2021

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President Joe Biden falsely claimed in two recent interviews that inflation was 9% when he took office in January 2021. It was actually much lower.

On May 8, President Joe Biden claimed the inflation rate was at 9% when he took office in January 2021 during an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett.

“No president has had the run we’ve had in terms of creating jobs and bringing down inflation. It was 9% when I came into office, 9%,” Biden said.

The president cited the same statistic during an interview with Yahoo Finance on May 14.

“I think inflation has gone slightly up,” he said. “It was at 9% when I came in and it’s now down around 3%.”

Multiple VERIFY readers, including Laura, want to know if the inflation rate was actually 9% when Biden assumed the presidency in 2021.

THE QUESTION

Was inflation 9% when President Biden took office in 2021?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, inflation wasn’t 9% when Biden took office in 2021.

WHAT WE FOUND

Inflation was not 9% when President Biden took the oath of office in January 2021. Instead, the year-over-year inflation rate was actually 1.4% at that time, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index.

BLS data does show that the inflation rate peaked at 9.1% in June 2022, after steadily rising throughout the first 17 months of Biden’s presidency. The most recent data, which was released on May 15, puts inflation at 3.4%.

When asked about Biden’s claim, a White House official told VERIFY in an email that “the President was making the point that the factors that caused inflation were in place when he took office,” adding that “the pandemic caused inflation around the world by disrupting our economy and breaking our supply chains.”

“Reopening after the pandemic unavoidably caused inflation by unleashing pent-up demand,” the White House official said, pointing to the Russia-Ukraine war and pandemic-related lockdowns in China as additional contributing factors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Inflation was not 9% when Biden took office in 2021

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