Economy

White House stresses job creation, consumer spending ahead of key economic report

In this March 22, 2020, file photo a plaque depicting the White House is posted behind a podium in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington.
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press
In this March 22, 2020, file photo a plaque depicting the White House is posted behind a podium in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington.

The Biden administration is leaning on strong job growth and healthy consumer spending ahead of a highly anticipated economic report this week that will signal how close the U.S. is to a recession.

Recession fears are looming ahead of Thursday’s gross domestic product (GDP) release measuring how much the economy grew from April to June.

But White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) Director Brian Deese tweeted on Sunday the GDP data is “backward looking” and stressed that “hiring, spending, and production data look solid.”

Deese also shared a link to a CEA report that discusses how economists look more broadly at various economic factors to determine whether the economy has hit a recession, including payrolls, industrial production, real income and spending.

Despite a 40-year high inflation rate, a graph chart shows the National Bureau of Economic Research is not indicating a recession — or a significant downturn in the economy that usually lasts at least a few months — because spending, payroll, real income and production have all grown.

“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,” CEA wrote in the analysis.

“Recession probabilities are never zero, but trends in the data through the first half of this year used to determine a recession are not indicating a downturn,” the report added.

The Biden administration has repeatedly tamped down recession fears by arguing analysts should take a broader look at the economy.

Still, the stock market declined to hit a bear market last month, and other top economic analysts have forecasted the second-quarter GDP report will show the economy barely grew from April to June, which, along with a negative first-quarter report, would indicate a recession is just around the corner.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also pushed back on recession fears Sunday, telling moderator Chuck Todd on NBC”s “Meet the Press” that “this is not an economy that is in recession.”

“You don’t see any of the signs. Now, a recession is a broad-based contraction that affects many sectors of the economy,” Yellen said. “We just don’t have that.”

— Updated at 7:54 a.m.

Tags Biden Brian Deese Chuck Todd Council of Economic Advisers Economy inflation Janet Yellen job gains Joe Biden White House
See all Hill.TV See all Video