Is the US headed toward a recession, or already in one?

Published: June 20, 2022 3:19 PM EDT
Updated: June 20, 2022 4:18 PM EDT

How much did it cost you for your last fill-up at the gas station or trip to the grocery store It is probably safe to say that it was too much.

Experts worry the economy will get worse before it gets better. There’s no doubt the country went into a COVID-19 recession in 2020, but there is some doubt and uncertainty on if one is coming or if we are already in it.

Gas prices consistently breaking records and for Juan Estrada of Naples, it is a bank breaker. “About $175 and that’s just because it hits the limit. If not, it’ll keep going.”

Inflation month after month is the worst the country has seen in decades.

“I’m trying to conserve a lot,” said John Bosse of Fort Myers.

FGCU Finance Professor Thomas Smythe says inflation is the biggest issue Americans face.

“I saw a report over the weekend that the average person, the average person has seen their monthly bills go up by $450 a month. That’s the average. Is very significant,” said Smythe.

It is also a sign that the country is hurtling toward a recession.

“Generally, to get out of the inflationary environment we’re in, we’re likely going to have to experience a recession just based on history. I tend to fall on the side that we’re already in one,” said Smythe.

A recession, by definition, is two consecutive quarters, six months, of economic decline.

Smythe believes this one is brought by the after-effects of the pandemic and sustained because of the war in Ukraine, worldwide supply chain issues, and the Federal Reserve’s delayed response to keep inflation in check.

“I think what federal reserve does over the next couple of months, will either speed up or slow down the occurrence. But the reality is, I’m of the belief that’s what they need to do. Inflation is been far too high for far too long,” said Smythe.

Smythe is optimistic, though that tomorrow, whenever that actually is, will be better.

“We will get through it. We got through the depression, got through World War II, we got through Vietnam, you know, we’ll get through it and things will be better on the back end, but we’ve got to be patient,” Smythe said.

Smythe said economic data won’t officially tell us the state of the country now, or if we are in a recession until the end of the year, and by that time things may be looking up.