(The Hill) – President Biden on Monday said he does not expect the U.S. economy to enter a recession ahead of a key report on gross domestic product (GDP) that could show the economy contracting.
“We’re not going to be in a recession in my view,” Biden told reporters after a virtual event focused on semiconductor legislation.
“The employment rate is still one of the lowest we’ve had in history. It’s in the 3.6 [percent] area. We still find ourselves with people investing,” Biden continued. “My hope is we go from this rapid growth to steady growth, so we’ll see some coming down. But I don’t think we’re going to, God willing, I don’t think we’re going to see a recession.”
The Bureau of Economic Analysis is scheduled to release second-quarter GDP data on Thursday. If it shows negative growth, it will mark the second consecutive quarter where the economy contracted, an indicator that often is used by economists to mark a recession.
Numerous White House officials have spent the past week pushing back on the idea that the economy is in recession based purely on the data that will come out Thursday.
“Even if that number is negative, we are not in a recession now,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday on NBC. “And I would, you know, warn that we should be not characterizing that as a recession.”
Jared Bernstein, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, told reporters last week that data on payroll employment, the unemployment rate and consumer spending are all “very much inconsistent with a recessionary call, given where we are right now.”
White House officials have also pointed to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonprofit group of economists, as a greater authority on what constitutes a recession. The group considers a recession “a significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and lasts more than a few months.”
The Biden administration has been grappling with high inflation for months, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year injecting uncertainty into global supply chains.
Biden and his team have argued they are hoping to transition the economy from the rapid growth out of the valley of the coronavirus pandemic to a more stable trend of growth as things stabilize and many Americans return to some semblance of normalcy.