International

US economy shrinks, sparks recession fears

The US economy has contracted for the second consecutive quarter, a development that in many other nations would be regarded as an economic recession.

In contrast, the US uses extra information to make that choice.

However, the shrinkage, which occurred at an annual pace of 0.9 percent in the three months leading up to July, has received a lot of attention as economic worries intensify.
The cost of food, gas, and other necessities is rising at a rate not seen since 1981.

Fears are growing that a recession is on the horizon, if it hasn’t already, as the US central bank aggressively increases borrowing prices to try to cool the economy and reduce pricing pressures.

US President Joe Biden has attempted to argue that the economy is still healthy in the face of declining public confidence by pointing out that the unemployment rate is still a low 3.6 percent and hiring has remained steady.

He assured reporters this week that the economy “was not going to be in a recession” prior to the release of data from the Commerce Department. His adversaries in the Republican party then claimed that the White House was attempting to redefine the term.

They claimed that the “White House recession rebrand” would not lessen the pain of Americans.

The US economy contracted at an annual rate of 1.6 percent in the first three months of the year. At the time, experts ascribed anomalies in trade data as the cause of the GDP fall.

However, the report released on Thursday revealed a more pronounced slowdown, with growth being constrained by falls in the housing market, business investment, and government spending. Consumer expenditure increased at a slower annual pace of 1% as people increased their spending on healthcare, lodging, and dining out while decreasing their spending on products and groceries.

“It’s no surprise that the economy is slowing down as the Federal Reserve acts to bring down inflation,” Mr. Biden said on Thursday. “Coming off of last year’s historic economic growth-and regaining all the private sector jobs lost during the pandemic crisis-no it’s surprise that the economy is slowing down.”

“But despite the unprecedented problems we face on a global scale, we are on the right track, and we will emerge from this transition stronger and more secure.”

Harvard professor Jeffrey Frankel previously served on the National Bureau of Economic Research committee, the group of academics that is charged with making the official declaration of recession. He said he did not think a recession started at the beginning of the year, noting the strong jobs growth. But after that he was less confident. “Things have already slowed down, so I’m not saying that everything is great,” he said. “Odds of a recession going forward are substantially higher than for a random year.”

Inflation in the US hit 9.1% in June, the fastest pace of price appreciation in more than four decades. On Wednesday, the US central bank responded to the problem with another unusually large increase to its key interest rate, its second 0.75 percentage point rise since it started raising rates in March.

The Federal Reserve hopes to reduce spending on items like homes and vehicles by raising borrowing costs, which should theoretically relieve some of the pressures driving up prices. But a decrease in demand also indicates a drop in economic activity.

Consumer confidence is declining, the housing market is faltering, and business activity is contracting for the first time since 2020, according to recent statistics. Since the year’s beginning, the US stock market has declined, and businesses ranging from General Motors to Facebook and Instagram owner Meta have announced they will slow recruiting. Other businesses, particularly in the real estate industry, have declared layoffs.

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