The U.S. economy shrank for the second consecutive quarter, stoking fears of a recession


Judy Woodruff:

And, as we mentioned, a new report today indicates that the US economy is experiencing a definite slowdown and possibly a recession.

This is the second consecutive quarter that gross domestic product has fallen into negative territory, falling nearly 1%. Economists often mark a recession with two consecutive quarters of negative growth. But the job market remained strong in the first half, which clouds the picture.

The president and his team insist that this is not a recession, at least not yet. But many Americans told pollsters they believed a recession was already underway.

I’m joined by – from the White House now by Gene Sperling, senior adviser to President Biden and coordinator of the US bailout.

Gene Sperling, welcome to the “NewsHour”.

So, as we say, it’s not clear now if the country is technically in a recession. But we know that the–that the growth is slowing down. And so my question is, does the president now think it’s more important to continue to focus on fighting inflation, or is it time to turn around and focus more on what’s coming – this existing downturn, perhaps the coming recession?

Gene Sperling, Senior Advisor to President Biden: Well, the whole reason this president is here and for – what energizes his economic policy is to have the backs of working families.

And, right now, for working families, the number one problem is rising prices. Now, that’s partly because we’ve had so much job growth and so little unemployment. And so, no, it focuses a lot on things that we can do to bring prices down.

And part of that is things like the release of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that helped us see gasoline prices go down 75 cents. And some of the things are in what you just talked about, the legislation that we can do, which could include a gas tax holiday, but, as you saw in discussion with Senator Schumer and Senator Manchin, a provision that could lower the price of prescription drugs, health care premiums for 13 million people, energy costs of a number of different products.

All of these are part of an agenda to both invest in the country, create more jobs here, but understand the pinch and squeeze many Americans are feeling from rising prices and s make sure we fix it.


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