President Biden and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell say that the current job market and increasing wages mean the U.S. is not in a recession. And the National Bureau of Economic Research has not determined that the country is in a recession, either. But even if it’s not officially called a recession, CNBC reports that consumers are still struggling with higher prices and nearly half of Americans say their debt is increasing. As food and gas prices increase, consumers are spending less on other items. Going forward, economic experts say that the labor market–hiring and layoffs–will be key in determining which way the U.S. economy is going.
“What really matters is paychecks aren’t reaching as far,” said Tomas Philipson, a professor of public policy studies at the University of Chicago and former acting chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. “What you call it is less relevant.”