Jul 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Raimondo: "We're trying to talk ourselves into a recession"

Gina Raimondo

Gina Raimondo. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo expressed empathy about the inflation concerns of everyday Americans during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" but maintained that the U.S. economy is fundamentally strong.

Why it matters: Decades-high inflation has spurred fears of an economic downturn, with some analysts warning that fear of a recession could become a self-fulfilling prophecy, Axios' Javier E. David writes.

  • Despite persistent fears of an economic slowdown, the June jobs report released on Friday indicated that job creation remains strong, allaying recession fears for the time being.

What they're saying: "Unemployment is down. We've recovered all the jobs since lost in the pandemic. People's household balance sheets are strong. However, when you go to the grocery store, prices are high. When you fill up your car at the tank, prices are high," Raimondo told host Chuck Todd.

  • She added that she had recently spoken to the CEO of a large company and asked him what he thought of the state of the economy.
  • "He said, 'The economy's strong. Customers are buying. Businesses are strong. People are adding jobs.' He said, 'We're trying to talk ourselves into a recession.' And I agree with that, you know?" Raimondo added.
  • "I think fundamentally the economy's strong. But if you go to the grocery store every day, getting ready for that summer picnic, and prices are high, people feel frustrated. And, you know, we get that."

Worth noting: Raimondo added that while Biden is "in the process" of making a decision about lifting some of former President Trump's tariffs on certain products, doing so would only help American consumers when it comes to certain household goods.

  • "Lifting tariffs isn't going to bring down top-line inflation in a very significant way," she said.
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