Are We in a Recession? The Majority of Americans Think So

A majority of Americans think the U.S economy is in a recession, according to a new poll.

The latest IBD/TIPP survey found 58 percent of Americans think the country is in a recession—up from 48 percent in May and 53 percent in June.

The poll also found just under two in 10 Americans (19 percent) say their wages have kept pace with inflation, while more than half (54 percent) said they have not.

It is up to academics at the National Bureau of Economics (NBER), a private nonprofit organization, to officially determine if the U.S. is in a recession, which it defines as a period of "significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and that lasts more than a few months."

People walk past New York Stock Exchange
People walk past the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New York City on July 12, 2022. A majority of Americans think the U.S economy is in a recession, according to a new poll. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

While it's unlikely the NBER will make an official determination any time soon, the survey underscores how the public's perception of the economy is at odds with that of President Joe Biden's administration, which could prove damaging in the midterm elections in November.

The Labor Department has sought to reduce concerns that a recession is imminent, reporting on Friday that 372,000 jobs were added to the economy in June, while the unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent.

"There's just no way they're going to label this period a recession with the kind of job growth and low unemployment rate we're seeing," Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody's Analytics, recently told Newsweek. "This is not a recession."

The Biden administration has pointed to the latest jobs report as evidence that the economy is heading in the right direction.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted that gas prices have fallen over the past month.

"We understand that inflation is hurting families when they are around the kitchen table, when they're trying to figure out, you know, how they're going to deal with gas prices at the pump, how they're going to deal with food prices as well," she said.

"That is why the president has been laser-focused on—on making sure that we truly deal with inflation… the president's going to be focused. We have a strong economy."

Her comments came after a New York Times/Siena College poll revealed a majority of Americans believe the country is moving in the wrong direction, driven by worries about the economy, inflation and other issues.

That same poll also found a majority of Democratic voters would prefer someone other than Biden as the party's presidential nominee in 2024.