Money & The Economy

CBO Director Admits The Economy May Already Be In Recession

The economy could already be in a recession, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said in a Thursday letter sent to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

The CBO’s letter is a response to a handful of questions Graham, the Senate’s Budget Committee’s ranking member, had asked the CBO following a cost estimate report they released Wednesday for H.R. 5376, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, according to the letter’s text. One of Graham’s prime concerns was whether the economy had already entered a recession, to which the CBO replied that it was too early to tell, though certainly plausible that the economy was in a recession.

“The U.S. economy shows signs of slowing, but whether the economy is currently in a recession is difficult to say,” the letter stated. “It is possible that, in retrospect, it will become apparent that the economy moved into recession sometime this year.”

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While many are familiar with the shorthand definition of recession being two consecutive quarters of declining GDP, the organization that classifies when a recession has begun, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), does so conservatively and retroactively by looking at a number of different indicators ranging from employment data, to consumption, investment, and more, according to the Bureau’s website.

“The committee’s approach to determining the dates of turning points is retrospective. In making its peak and trough announcements, it waits until sufficient data are available to avoid the need for major revisions to the business cycle chronology. In determining the date of a peak in activity, it waits until it is confident that a recession has occurred,” the NBER website states.

While some metrics certainly indicate a decline in economic activity in the first half of 2022, there is not yet an overwhelming preponderance of evidence to suggest that the economy is in a recession since factors like a strong labor market cloud the economic outlook, according to the CBO’s letter.

President Joe Biden has caught flack from critics for playing semantic games about whether the economy is technically in a recession when many Americans are hurting financially.

Graham’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Max Keating

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Max Keating
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