Viterbo business professor says U.S. is in a recession

Despite high inflation and two quarters of negative GDP, the unemployment rate remains at 3.6%

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — Even as many financial wizards ponder whether the United States will enter a recession, the country already is in one, according to a business administration professor at Viterbo University in La Crosse.

“The data look like we’re in a recession right now,” said Professor John Robinson.

The National Bureau of Economic Researchers is the official body that decides when a recession is taking place, Robinson said.

During the second quarter of the year, U.S. gross domestic product fell 0.9%, which followed a drop of 1.6% in the first quarter. Two straight quarters of negative gross domestic product generally signals a recession, according to the Associated Press.

Still, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has suggested that the government might be able to avoid a recession.

“We’re not trying to have a recession, and we don’t think we have to,” Powell said Thursday.

“We think that there’s a path for us to bring inflation down while sustaining a strong labor market,” he said.

Regardless of whether a recession becomes official, Robinson said even the fear of one could impact hiring.

“If I’m a business and I see the economy is shrinking, that makes me think are my customers still going to be buying from me,” said Robinson.

Robinson acknowledges that the government has to work to get inflation under control while preventing damage to the economy amid negative growth.

“Inflation is disruptive and recessions are disruptive so it’s walking a fine line,” he said.

Consumer prices are up 9.1% since June 2021.

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