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Latest GDP reading confirms the US economy shrank for two straight quarters

CNN Business

The US economy shrank by 0.6% during the second quarter of the year, according to the latest gross domestic product estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis released Thursday.

That matches the most recent GDP estimate and shows the economy was in contraction for the entire first half of the year as businesses readjusted to pandemic-era supply chain disruptions.

The latest scorecard on the economy may reignite the debate as to whether the United States has been in a recession, commonly defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Some economists and policymakers have rebuffed claims of an early 2022 recession, citing robust job growth, consumer spending and manufacturing.

However, the official arbiter is a panel of National Bureau of Economic Research economists, who take an array of economic indicators into consideration and can revise the data many years later.

Thursday’s third estimate of second-quarter GDP is based on more complete data than what was available last month and reflects upwardly revised levels of consumer spending, federal government spending and business fixed investment. Those were offset by a downward revision to exports and investment in housing, the BEA said.

Gross domestic income, an alternative economic measure of the earnings and costs incurred in production, were revised downward by $47.4 billion to $305.7 billion.

“The annual revisions to GDP and gross domestic income indicate a weaker US economy in the first half of 2022 than initially reported,” Gus Faucher, chief economist for The PNC Financial Services Group, wrote in a note issued Thursday.

The US economy is in transition during 2022, and the data is contradictory, he said, noting strength in areas such as the labor market, production and spending.

However, recession risks remain elevated, Abbey Omodunbi, PNC’s assistant vice president and senior economist, told CNN Business, citing the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes to combat historically high inflation.

“And with that, we’re going to see significant slowing of the US economy, particularly in interest-rate-sensitive sectors” such as housing and business investments, he said.

The worldwide outlook is even more dour: There’s a 98.1% chance of a global recession, according to a probability model run by Ned Davis Research, which highlights Russia’s war in Ukraine and central banks’ drastic rate hikes to tamp down inflation.

The only other times that recession model was this high has been during severe economic downturns, most recently in 2020 and during the 2008 global financial crisis.

The first estimate for third-quarter GDP is set to be released on October 27.

CNN Business’s Matt Egan contributed to this report.

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