President Joe Biden spoke to reports of empty shelves across the country Wednesday, claiming that store shelves are in fact “89%” full.
Biden’s statement came in response to questions at a White House press briefing Wednesday, the second of his presidency. Americans have endured rising prices and supply chain chaos that has resulted in empty store shelves for months, largely due to the resurgence of COVID-19 variants.
“Notwithstanding the recent storms that have impacted many parts of our country, the share of goods in stock at stores is 89% now, which is barely changed from the 91% before the pandemic,” Biden said. “I often see empty shelves being shown on television. Eighty-nine percent are full, which is only a few points below what it was before the pandemic.”
Biden was apparently referencing tracking from IRI worldwide, which publishes weekly research on the availability of goods in U.S. stores. White House Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese first touted the study Tuesday.
Numerous media reports have shown empty shelves across the U.S. in part due to workers calling out sick with the highly contagious Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Deese acknowledged Tuesday that the Omicron disruptions were “expected.”