New York City Mayor Eric Adams contradicted the Biden administration Thursday, admitting that both New York City and the United States as a whole are in a recession.
Speaking at a meeting of interfaith leaders at the Sanzer Yeshiva in Staten Island, hosted by the nonprofit Project Hospitality, Adams contradicted the Biden administration’s repeated claims that the U.S. economy is not in a recession despite two quarters of declining GDP.
Adams quickly walked back his comments when pressed by reporters, however, saying that he believes the economy will recover and that he trusts Biden.
During the speech, Adams stressed the need to spend money wisely, comparing the New York City budget to his experience growing up in a poor family. He described how his mother would show him and his siblings the family’s income and expenses. “’You tell me what to take off the plate if you want me to put something else on the plate,’” Adams said, quoting his mother. “I’m coming to you as a city and saying, ‘This is how much we have, that’s it.’”
“We are in a financial crisis, like you can never imagine,” Adams continued. “Wall Street is collapsing; we’re in a recession.”
After the speech, Adams was asked by a reporter from the Jewish publication Hamodia whether he believed the Biden administration was wrong for claiming that the U.S. is not in a recession. Adams seemed to walk back his remarks. “We’re going to recover, and Biden is the president, and I follow his presidency,” Adams told the outlet.
Asked whether he thinks the U.S. is currently in a recession, Adams again deferred to the Biden administration’s judgement. “The president will make a determination on the official title of where we are,” he said. “[T]hat’s the president, and I follow the lead of the president. We’re dealing with tough economic times, but we’re going to get through it, because I trust in the president.”
The Biden administration has been embarking on a damage control campaign since last week, as second-quarter GDP numbers showed that the U.S. economy shrank by 0.9%. Last week, the White House published a blog post that attempted to disregard the common definition of a recession in favor of a broader definition.
“While some maintain that two consecutive quarters of falling real GDP constitute a recession, that is neither the official definition nor the way economists evaluate the state of the business cycle,” the White House wrote. “Instead, both official determinations of recessions and economists’ assessment of economic activity are based on a holistic look at the data — including the labor market, consumer and business spending, industrial production, and incomes. Based on these data, it is unlikely that the decline in GDP in the first quarter of this year — even if followed by another GDP decline in the second quarter — indicates a recession.”
On Thursday, Biden touted the low unemployment rate, growing labor market, and several new investments in remarks at the White House. “That doesn’t sound like a recession to me,” Biden said, before promptly walking away from the podium without taking questions from the press.