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* US economic activity picks up to 13-month high in May via PMI survey data:
Government stimulus and pandemic-related disruptions caused the surge in US inflation, advise Ben Bernanke, former chair of the Federal Reserve, and Olivier Blanchard, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, in a new research study. The Wall Street Journal, reporting on the research, explains:
When Congress passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan in early 2021, which included checks to households, enhanced jobless benefits and aid to state and local governments, inflation was around 2% and unemployment, though coming down, still above 6%.
At the time many forecasters thought the stimulus could push demand above the economy’s potential to supply goods and services and unemployment below its long-run natural rate of around 4%. Yet few thought this would meaningfully raise inflation. In previous decades unemployment had remained similarly low without raising price pressures.