The Biden administration has downplayed the poor economic news as signaling an economic transition out of a fast-paced, post-pandemic recovery to a more stable environment. The White House’s claims come as Americans continue to be battered by inflation, which measured over 9% in June.
On Thursday morning, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released data showing that the U.S. economy shrank for the second straight quarter, satisfying the traditional requirement of a recession. Biden addressed the somber economic news in remarks opening a round table with business leaders and top administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
“It’s important to start with what we know before this morning’s report. Our jobs market remains historically strong. Our economy created more than 9 million jobs since I came to office,” Biden said. “Our economy created more than one million jobs in the second quarter, the same period as today’s GDP report covers. Our unemployment rate is 3.6%, near a record historic low.”
“Households and businesses, the engines of our economy, continue to move forward,” he added. The president then touted a recent White House visit by the chairman of SK Group, a South Korea-based telecoms company, in which the company announced a $22 billion investment in its United States operations.
“Now, there is no doubt we expect growth to be slower than last year rather than the rapid clip we had,” Biden continued. “But that’s consistent with the transition to a stable, steady growth and lower inflation. There is going to be a lot of chatter today on Wall Street and among pundits about whether we are in a recession, but if you look at our job market, consumer spending, business investment, we see signs of economic progress in the second quarter as well.”
Earlier Thursday, in remarks delivered at the White House, Biden played up labor statistics and the SK Group investment and said “that doesn’t sound like a recession to me” before exiting the podium.
Thursday’s Bureau of Economic Analysis report fulfilled the traditional signal that the U.S. economy has entered a recession. The Biden administration has claimed recently that two straight quarters of negative GDP growth do not necessarily mean the U.S. is in recession, however.