It’s looking like the U.S. economy is already in a recession. The economy shrank 1.5% in the first quarter of the year, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has lowered its Q2 forecast to negative 2.1% growth, meeting the technical definition of a recession. 

We won’t know for sure until the Q2 economic data is released on September 30th (though a preliminary estimate will be made public on July 28), but the Biden administration is already in denial mode about it.

“Do we believe we’re in a recession?  No.  That’s — that’s my answer to you on that “Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a reporter who made note of the Atlanta Fed’s projections. “So, there is a nonpartisan data that came out recently — the National Bureau of Economic Research, [which] determines and defines recession.  And so let me just quote here for a second:  ‘In recent decades, the two measures we have put the most weight on are real personal income less transfer[s] and nonfarm payroll employment.'”  So that is from the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economics Research, again, determines the definition of recession,” she continued her semi-coherent answer. 

Due to the lack of denial that the economy has suffered two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, Jean-Pierre seems to be acknowledging that we’re only not in a recession if we don’t measure it as traditionally defined. 

And it is true that the National Bureau of Economic Research‘s definition of what constitutes a recession is a bit more flexible; “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.” But one of the statistics that Jean-Pierre cited as being favorable, real (inflation adjusted) personal income, has been declining, and the other, employment, is only low amid a historically small labor force. 

Matt Palumbo is the author of The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros

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