Biden touts record employment, but faces new challenges as the GDP declines.

Biden touts record employment, but faces new challenges as the GDP declines.

The economy shrank by 0.9 percent in the second quarter of the year, according to a study released on Thursday. This gives Republicans a tantalising chance to claim that the economy led by President Joe Biden is now in a recession.

The report from the Commerce Department on gross domestic product for the months of April to June follows a loss of 1.6 percent in the first quarter and satisfies one, though by no means the only, standard for an economic recession. The amount is an initial estimate that could change in the future.

Over the past week, Biden and senior administration figures have argued in both public and private forums that even two quarters of decline would not indicate a recession given the economy’s other positive aspects, such as strong job growth, stable consumer spending, and a record number of job openings.

However, Republicans are prepared to ignore all the economic fine points and attack Democratic candidates across the board in the upcoming midterm elections over an economy that is already extremely unpopular with voters of all political stripes who are witnessing the 9 percent increase in the cost of gas, food, travel, and nearly everything else, which is much faster than their own wages. On Friday, new inflationary statistics will be released.

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