White House holds firm on US avoiding recession as economy looms over midterms

The White House remains confident that the US economy will not enter a recession, despite voter concerns about rising inflation driving next week’s midterm elections and recent announcements of job cuts and hiring freezes by major technology companies.

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Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday that the Biden administration is not making preparations for a recession, even as the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates for three consecutive months amid inflation that remains at the highest levels since the 1980s.

Ms Jean-Pierre said Federal Reserve Board chair Jerome Powell is being given “the space to make ecisions on monetary policy without political interference” and stressed that the White House sees the continually strong labour market as a sign of economic health even as the administration has acted to lower prices for consumers.

“We understand inflation is an issue for Americans. That’s why we have done the work to lower costs every way that we can, whether it’s [through the] Inflation Reduction Act lowering costs, on health care premiums …energy costs … and lowering gas prices,” she said.

“We believe we need to focus on dealing with that inflation and dealing with lowering costs, but as we see the economy as a whole, we do not see it going into recession,” she continued, adding that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen — who Ms Jean-Pierre described as “a renowned economist who is clearly the Secretary of [the] Treasury” has expressed a similar opinion.

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