- In the State of the Union address March 1, President Joe Biden touched on workforce issues and inflation in addition to a slew of other international and domestic issues.
- In the speech, which lasted a little over one hour, Biden said his "top priority" was "getting prices under control," and warned employers away from reducing wages in response to inflation. Biden also touted his rate of job creation, noting 6.5 million jobs added to the economy last year; "More jobs in one year than ever before in the history of the United States of America," he said. He related this in part to the "revitalization" of American manufacturing, noting Intel’s investment in a massive semiconductor fabrication plant in Ohio.
- Biden also turned his attention to lawmaking, urging Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, the PRO Act, universal paid leave and a $15 minimum wage.
As anticipated, Biden's State of the Union address focused in part on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, highlighting the response from America and its allies for about the first 20 minutes of the hour-long address. But the president spent more than two-thirds of the speech touching on a wide range of domestic issues, demonstrating in particular a continued focus on economic policy on the homefront.
With Americans concerned about high prices, it was no surprise Biden turned his attention to the topic of inflation. Many of the fixes he proposed dealt with investing in infrastructure and American manufacturing to combat supply-chain headaches. But he also turned his attention toward employers.
"We have a choice. One way to fight inflation is to drive down wages and make Americans poor," Biden said. "I think I have a better idea to fight inflation. Lower your costs. Not your wages."
Biden’s speech also expounded on the workplace in other ways — including calls to raise the corporate tax rate and enforce antitrust policy — but he touched only briefly, later in his speech, on other policies pertaining to workers.
"We will also cut costs and keep the economy going strong and give workers a fair shot, provide more training at apprenticeships, hire them based on skills and not just through their degrees," Biden said. "Let's pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and paid leave. Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour … Let's pass the PRO Act. When a majority of workers want to form a union, they should not be stopped."