“Never in the history of our country have we had a recession where the economy was creating jobs, period, let alone creating 400,000 jobs,” Deese told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
“Certainly in terms of the technical definition, it’s not a recession. The technical definition considers a much broader spectrum of data points. But in practical terms what matters to American people is whether they have a little economic breathing room, they have more job opportunities, their wages are going up — that has been Joe Biden’s focus since coming into office,” Deese said.
“If you look at the labor market, if you look at what consumers are spending, what businesses and households are investing, you continue to see this resilience,” Deese said. “But that’s no reason for complacency. We need to act. We need to act on things like prescription drugs and things like semiconductors right now.”
He urged Congress to take immediate action to bring down costs for American families, including by lowering prescription drug prices and bolstering US computer chip manufacturing, which he noted would help bring down costs for automobiles.
“These are very uncertain times,” Deese said. “And when you go and pull up at the gas station or pull into the grocery store and see these high prices, they not only create hardship but they create uncertainty for what things are going to be like in the future.”
The US is expecting a number of key economic indicator reports this week aside from the second quarter GDP numbers coming Thursday, including Tuesday’s consumer confidence survey and Friday’s Personal Consumption Expenditure index. The Federal Reserve also meets on Wednesday to discuss interest rates.
Other top Biden administration officials continue to insist the economy is not in recession amid widespread inflation. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen argued Sunday the economy is in “transition” and there is a “slowdown.”
“This is not an economy that’s in recession, but we’re in a period of transition in which growth is slowing,” she told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed to this report.