LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- During a scheduled visit to the Port of Los Angeles at the Battleship Iowa Friday, President Joe Biden addressed the topic he calls his top economic priority: inflation.
On the final day of the Summit of the Americas, Biden spoke about the actions the administration has taken to lower prices and address supply chain challenges.
He also hosted a "leaders retreat'' and a luncheon with various summit delegates.
However, that fight against inflation has gotten a bit tougher for Biden after the U.S. Department of Labor announced consumer prices surged 8.6% last month from 12 months earlier, faster than April's year-over-year surge of 8.3%. It's a new four-decade high.
"[Russian President Vladimir Putin's] price hike is hitting America hard," said Biden. "Gas prices at the pump. Energy and food prices account for half of the monthly price increases since May. Inflation outside of energy and food, what they call core inflation, moderated the last few months. We need it to come down much more quickly."
Biden also called on Congress to pass a bill to cut shipping costs and legislation to lower the price of prescription drugs and energy bills.
He also highlighted how foreign-owned shipping companies raised their prices while ranking in $190 billion in profit, saying the rip off is over.
"People at home trying to make it paycheck to paycheck are wondering what in God's name do nine shipping companies have to do with it?" said Biden. "Well almost everything you're doing, eating, what you drive, what you need in your home, is related to the supply chain and what's coming from abroad."
However, due to tight labor markets, the COVID-19 pandemic, and Russia's war with Ukraine, the cost of goods continues to rise.
"We don't have enough workers to fill the jobs that are out there," said Alexis Christoforous, an ABC News business analyst. "That's pushing wages up and it's very, very inflationary. We have the ongoing war in Ukraine hurting gas prices, but now, also possibly threatening a world food crisis."
Earlier Thursday, speaking at the CEO Summit of the Americas gathering of business leaders at the Intercontinental Hotel, Biden challenged business leaders to join with Western Hemisphere nations to prepare the global economy for the coming decades through investments in supply chains, clean energy and the "digital future.''
Biden said the "economy of the future'' will depend on decisions made Friday.
City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.