the economic outlook in the United States, however cloudy, is still better than in most other regions.

loss of purchasing power over time, meaning your dollar will not go as far tomorrow as it did today. It is typically expressed as the annual change in prices for everyday goods and services such as food, furniture, apparel, transportation and toys.

A fragile currency can sometimes work as “a buffering mechanism,” causing nations to import less and export more, Mr. Prasad said. But today, many “are not seeing the benefits of stronger growth.”

Still, they must pay more for essential imports like oil, wheat or pharmaceuticals as well as for loan bills due from billion-dollar debts.

debt crisis in Latin America in the 1980s.

The situation is particularly fraught because so many countries ran up above-average debts to deal with the fallout from the pandemic. And now they are facing renewed pressure to offer public support as food and energy prices soar.

Indonesia this month, thousands of protesters, angry over a 30 percent price increase on subsidized fuel, clashed with the police. In Tunisia, a shortage of subsidized food items like sugar, coffee, flour and eggs has shuttered cafes and emptied market shelves.

New research on the impact of a strong dollar on emerging nations found that it drags down economic progress across the board.

“You can see these very pronounced negative effects of a stronger dollar,” said Maurice Obstfeld, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and an author of the study.

central banks feel pressure to raise interest rates to bolster their currencies and prevent import prices from skyrocketing. Last week, Argentina, the Philippines, Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Britain and Norway raised interest rates.

World Bank warned this month that simultaneous interest rate increases are pushing the world toward a recession and developing nations toward a string of financial crises that would inflict “lasting harm.”

Clearly, the Fed’s mandate is to look after the American economy, but some economists and foreign policymakers argue it should pay more attention to the fallout its decisions have on the rest of the world.

In 1998, Alan Greenspan, a five-term Fed chair, argued that “it is just not credible that the United States can remain an oasis of prosperity unaffected by a world that is experiencing greatly increased stress.”

The United States is now facing a slowing economy, but the essential dilemma is the same.

“Central banks have purely domestic mandates,” said Mr. Obstfeld, the U.C. Berkeley economist, but financial and trade globalization have made economies more interdependent than they have ever been and so closer cooperation is needed. “I don’t think central banks can have the luxury of not thinking about what’s happening abroad.”

Flávia Milhorance contributed reporting from Rio de Janeiro.

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Americans Face Tough Decisions As Food Prices Continue To Soar

The price of bread and milk is up about 16% and 17% respectively, while eggs cost nearly 40% more than they did last year.

The prices of food at the grocery store have skyrocketed in recent months and some consumers say the high prices have led them to make tough decisions.

Consumers are spending much more than they used to and Oliva Yocum says she’s started stockpiling food because of it.

“I’ve actually started pickling and cannning stuff because I think it’s going to get a lot worse,” she said.

Not only are people spending more, but the higher price tags are also making it harder for people to eat healthier.

Nashville resident Vidal Garrett says it’s sometimes cheaper to pick up fast food.

“I can go get a cheeseburger and fries at McDonalds and spend about five or six bucks,” he said. “I come in here [grocery store] and try to get a grilled chicken salad, but buying the chicken alone is going to cost me ten to 12 bucks.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, home food prices were up 13.5% in August compared to a year earlier.

The price of bread and milk is up about 16% and 17% respectively. Eggs, on the other hand, cost nearly 40% more than last year.

Colorado farmer Eric Hanagan says the increasing cost of fertilizer — which hit a record high this year and at one point more than doubled in price — is one of the many reasons driving prices up.

“Our revenues are way, way down,” Hanagan said. “We’re running 50% of our sales because farmers are affected by the drought, fertilizer and fuel prices.”

Those price increases trickle down to the consumer and the USDA expects grocery store food prices to increase by up to 11% this year — with meat being the primary driver.

“It’s kind of sad that you’re better off financially buying greasy hamburger meat and fries rather than buying the salad and fruit for your kids,” Garrett said.

Source: newsy.com

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What Makes Nutrition Advice Confusing?

Newsy’s Heath and Science correspondent Lindsey Theis looks into whether nutrition advice is helpful or confusing.

The first lesson in diet and nutrition 101 is to forget everything you think you know about diet and nutrition.  

Because chances are as soon as you’ve got it down, more advice or another diet pops up.  

Take cholesterol and fats, for example: until 2015, the USDA recommended no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol daily.  

For some perspective, a single egg has 186 milligrams. 

But the government removed the limit in 2015. 

Officials couldn’t prove the link between dietary cholesterol and cholesterol in the blood.  

You may remember the food pyramid from your grade school days.

It suggested a diet of six to 11 servings of breads, cereal, rice and pasta, three to five servings of vegetables and even fewer servings of meat, dairy, fruit and fats.  

The USDA scrapped that dietary guide over a decade ago and replaced it with “My Plate” showing a new way of how to section and balance your meals. 

Your food choices add up, and they all matter. So where do you start? 

The USDA recommends fruits and vegetables should now make up half of your plate with less protein, dairy and grains. 

But this year over half of Americans said they’d never seen “My Plate” before, or knew little about it. 

Then there’s calorie confusion: how many calories should we put on our plates?   

“Calories are important outside of weight loss for overall health, especially for longevity. So we want to take care of our body with really good quality calories,”said Grey.  

Some food-tracking apps like “My Fitness Pal” are based on a minimum 1,200 calorie daily diet for the quickest weight loss results. 

Historians trace this number back to one of the first modern diet books ever released in 1918.  

At the time the author Lulu Hunt Peters suggested 1,200 calories a day would keep someone’s weight controlled. It was also unpatriotic to “be fat” while thousands were starving during the WWI era. 

Certified Nutritionist Liana Warner Grey is among a chorus of food experts who say eating 1,200 calories a day is not only unhealthy, it’s the amount a toddler should eat.  

“The 1,200 calories a day is definitely a myth. We need need more fuel, more clean calories to get us through the day,” said Grey. 

Current USDA guidelines say adult women need between 1,600 to 2,400 calories a day, depending on their height, weight and activity level. 

Adult men need 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day.  

And one approach doesn’t fit all.  

A 2019 study found even identical twins don’t react to food the same way, suggesting no single diet exists that works for everyone. 

Doctors say there are many other lesser-known factors like stress. 

“The more stress people that people were experiencing, the more weight they were gaining,” said Dr. Arthur Evans, the CEO of the American Psychological Association.

Out-of-whack hormones like cortisol or leptin also contribute to weight gain.  

Even what type of sugar we eat.  

“The brain responds differently to different sugars. So corn syrup hits very differently in the body than what monk fruit or honey will do because those sugars actually provide nutritional value,” said Grey.  

Researchers say celebrity influence also plays a major role in what we eat.  

A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association this year looked at some of the most followed celebrity accounts on Instagram.   

They found an overwhelming number of posts about food and drinks that were unhealthy by U.S. nutritional standards. 

One of the studies authors says celebrities and social media have the kind of influence that can help sustain eating trends and set norms. 

“This can really contribute to followers’ perception of what is common what is valued in society right now,” said Bradley Turnwald, a behavioral scientist at The University of Chicago.

On TikTok, videos tagged “nutrition” have amassed nearly eight billion views, and posts about diet hit over 20 billion views.  

Many contradict one another .  

Dr. Idrees Mughal told the New York Times viewers tag him in 100 to 200 videos every day for help. 

The British doctor, who has a Master’s in nutrition, dedicates his entire TikTok to scientifically debunking hundreds of claims.  

For example someone said on TikTok, “eggs are one of the worst foods you can eat, full of fat and cholesterol.” 

Mughal says “eggs are one of the most nutrient rich foods we could eat, as well as being a well high quality protein and digestible amino acids. Eggs are top of the list.”

TikTok says it has measures to address harmful diet and nutrition advice.  

The company says it removes creators who violate their disordered eating policies and flags potentially harmful searches. 

But even research that experts cite isn’t always cut and dried. And variables or research blindspots can get lost in a catchy headline. 

Nutritionists say the perfect diet study is unachievable. 

They emphasize a “healthy” diet isn’t one size fits everybody. 

And that drowning out the noise and listening your own body is best.

Source: newsy.com

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Why Totino’s Needs 25 Ways to Make Pizza Rolls

It takes about 21 ingredients to make a Totino’s pizza roll, the bite-size snack that soared in popularity during the pandemic as people sought easy-to-make meals.

And on any given day since last winter, at least one of those ingredients, if not many, has either been difficult to find or insanely expensive.

The shortages became so bad at one point that General Mills, which makes Totino’s, simply couldn’t produce enough.

sugar and low-calorie sweeteners like erythritol, which is used in products like yogurt and cereal, were tough to pin down. Then palm oil, an odorless and tasteless oil that’s in about half the packaged goods in supermarkets, became hard to find. After Russia invaded Ukraine, global supplies of sunflower oil, produced by both countries, disappeared. And more recently, because of the avian flu that swept across the United States this spring, egg prices soared, leading to shortages.

guidance to allow manufacturers to make “minor formulation changes” because of supply disruptions or shortages without updating the ingredient list.

The leeway doesn’t apply to a change that increases the safety risk because it contains a food allergen or gluten, or that replaces a key ingredient or one featured in the name or marketing. For example, a product that claims to be made with “real butter” cannot now be made with margarine, and raisin bread must contain raisins.

Before the pandemic, Ingredion, a company that makes sweeteners, starches and other ingredients used by large food companies, often had its 500 scientists and 26 labs all over the country working on new products for companies. But in recent months, much more of their time has been spent figuring out what happens to the taste, texture and shelf life of a food when one or two ingredients are switched out.

“The overall reformulation of a product is a very complicated equation,” said Beth Tormey, a vice president and general manager of systems and ingredient solutions at Ingredion. “It has to meet parameters of texture and taste so that consumers like it, but it also has to fit into the regulatory box and the nutrition box. It all sounds simple from a distance, but it’s not.”

Take eggs. They are, explained Leaslie Carr, a senior director at Ingredion, a key source of protein for many products, but they are more than that. For baked goods, for instance, they provide moisture and volume, helping make cakes light and fluffy.

“Salad dressings also use a lot of egg for body and texture,” Ms. Carr said. “So we’re trying to figure out how to use different emulsifiers to reduce the amount of egg used, maybe reduce the egg amount by half, to produce the dressings. That gives you some flexibility to continue to manufacture the product until the egg situation stabilizes.”

General Mills started to notice the supply chain disruptions late last year.

The company’s plant in Wellston, Ohio, which had churned out Totino’s pizza and pizza rolls, working to meet the surge in sales that accompanied the pandemic, suddenly couldn’t get key ingredients.

“First it was the starch that we use for the cheeses,” Mr. Nudi said. “Then certain packaging and oils were hard to find. A lot of the materials that we use for Totino’s were challenged from an ingredient standpoint.”

By February, there weren’t enough Totino’s pizza and pizza rolls to keep grocery freezer sections full.

By then, the company had started daily meetings across its research and development, procurement and supply chain departments to figure out how to revamp and substitute ingredients. For instance when starch became difficult to find, the company began substituting and combining different starches in order to figure out what worked to make the pizza rolls look and taste the same.

In March, the company had filled freezer sections again, Mr. Nudi said.

But the lessons being learned from the “new normal” in the supply chain are being felt across the entire company.

Before the pandemic, the packaged food industry was a stable environment, with a consistent level of growth, Mr. Nudi said. That made having a secure, steady supply of ingredients easier.

Now General Mills is lining up multiple suppliers for each ingredient and keeping more ingredients on hand.

“Just-in-time deliveries don’t work anymore,” Mr. Nudi said. “We’re adding to inventory, holding more dry ingredients and fats and oils, even though that’s tough too right now. We need tanks to store those liquids, and those just aren’t readily available.”

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Dairy Farmers in the Netherlands Are Up in Arms Over Emission Cuts

WOUDENBERG, Netherlands — The dairy farmers of the Netherlands have had enough.

They have set fire to hay and manure along highways, dumped trash on roads to create traffic jams, and blockaded food distribution centers with their tractors, leading to empty shelves in supermarkets. Across the country, upside down flags wave from farmhouses in protest.

The anger of the farmers is directed at the government, which has announced plans for a national 50 percent reduction of nitrogen emissions by 2030, in line with European Union requirements to preserve protected nature reserves, that they believe unfairly targets them. Factories and cars also emit large amounts of nitrogen and have not been targeted, they say, although the government said that cuts associated with both polluters would be addressed in the future.

Agriculture is responsible for the largest share of nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands, much of it from the waste produced by the estimated 1.6 million cows that provide the milk used to make the country’s famed cheeses, like Gouda and Edam.

wrote in a letter to the Dutch minister of agriculture this month that “the transition to a sustainable agricultural and food system is urgent and necessary.” The letter also said that consumers in the Netherlands needed to do their part to make sure emissions targets were reached.

“Consumers also have to take responsibility,” it said. “Dutch people will have to consume more vegetables and fewer (-70%) animal proteins.”

All of this comes as wrenching change in the Netherlands, where dairy farms have long been as much of the national identity as the country’s windmills and canals. It is also a major producer and exporter of milk and milk products. Last year it sent €8.2 billion worth of dairy products abroad and produced a total of 13.8 billion kilos of milk, according to ZuivelNL, a Dairy organization.

to a survey by a Dutch research firm.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who this month became the country’s longest-serving prime minister and has grappled with what is known in the Netherlands as “the nitrogen crisis,” has condemned the protests, calling them “unacceptable.”

said recently on Twitter.

in July.

former President Donald J. Trump said at a rally last month.

For now, a government-appointed mediator is engaged in negotiations between the farmers and the government. The mediator has said there is a “crisis of confidence” between the two sides.

“We’re not going without a fight,” said Mr. Apeldoorn, the dairy farmer. “That’s how most farmers feel right now.”

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New Comedy ‘Easter Sunday’ Celebrates Filipino-American Life

The new comedy “Easter Sunday” is purposefully out in theaters now, filled with Easter eggs meant to reach and celebrate a Filipino audience.

Career, faith and complicated family dynamics are just a few themes in the new comedy “Easter Sunday,” set in Daly City, California — the real life home to 32,000  Filipinos.

It’s written by Ken Cheng and loosely based on the life of Cheng and Filipino- American comedian Jo Koy.

“A lot of times our stories, especially when we’re talking about immigrants, focus on what I call the noble struggle of immigration, and we never get to relish in the joy and happiness and the laughter and the comedy of that experience,” Cheng said. 

The film gives nods to classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Friday.”

“A one-day movie in which a variety of hijinks and subplots sort of converge into a dramatic moment at the end of the movie,” Cheng said.

The movie is filled with little things — or Easter eggs — meant to reach and celebrate a Filipino audience. 

“All the food that’s included in the movie are literally written verbatim in the screenplay,” Cheng said. “It’s like, this is the dish you should be cooking here… She’s offering a dessert, and the dessert should be this, Polvoron.”

A recurring struggle in the film is its central character’s difficulty navigating stereotypes in Hollywood.

According to a study from CAPE and the Geena Davis Institute, about a third of API characters — 35.2% — embody at least one common API trope or stereotype such as the “Martial Artist,” the “Model Minority” or the “Exotic Woman.”

NEWSY’S AMBER STRONG: How did you figure out how to make this movie that celebrated Filipino culture without making fun of Filipino culture? Does that make sense?

KEN CHENG: It does make sense. For me, the priority is I think that it’s a natural byproduct of allowing characters to just be human on screen. That makes sense if you are able to express these characters humanity. I don’t see how you would laugh at them.

There was brief talk about moving Easter Sunday and its all star cast of AAPI actors to streaming due to COVID-19, but filmmakers tell Newsy they and Koy had their hopes set on something bigger. 

“These are people we do not see on the big screen often, if ever, and it was really important to him and really important to us as producers involved, and to the studio frankly, that that we get to present this movie the way we intended to,” Cheng said.

In a movie titled “Easter Sunday,” there are obviously themes of faith.

According to Harvard Divinity School, 90% of people in the Philippines are Christian, with the majority Catholic.

“We can all debate about the origins of why Catholicism specifically played such an important role as a byproduct of colonialism in the Philippines, but it is undeniably such a large part of the Filipino and Filipino American specifically experience,” Cheng said.

The topic of faith becoming more prevalent in shows with AAPI leads, like “Ms. Marvel” airing on Disney+,  relies heavily on Islamic traditions. There’s also the Kim family in the CBC show “Kim’s Convenience,” which features numerous plots centered around the Korean Family’s Christian faith. 

“Church is, frankly, one of the central hubs of the community in which people find community, especially newly arrived immigrants who don’t know anybody else in this country,” Cheng said. “That’s where they go to find their countrymen there,  find solidarity and sort of a sense of collective belonging.”

“Easter Sunday” is now playing, purposely, in theaters only. 

Source: newsy.com

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Georgia’s Kemp Seeks Tax Breaks, Rebutting Abrams On Economy

Gov. Kemp is blaming inflation and other economic troubles on President Joe Biden and Kemp’s Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams.

Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp will unfurl his first major policy proposals of his reelection bid Thursday, pledging another state income tax rebate and revival of a long-dormant state property tax break while contending with Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams over who’s best for the state’s economy.

After Abrams argued this week that “miserly” Republicans are denying basic services and ignoring inequities in pursuit of low spending and tax cuts for the rich, Kemp started swinging at Abrams as he celebrated record-high economic development numbers Wednesday.

“If anyone wants to suggest we aren’t delivering on jobs and opportunities for everyone in this state, they should get their facts straight before commenting on things that they simply do not understand,” Kemp said.

Abrams is seeking traction against a Republican incumbent she narrowly trails in the polls in a crucial swing state. The challenger argues that not only Kemp’s fiscal policies but his support for abortion restrictions, loose gun laws and even tighter controls on what’s taught in schools threaten the growth of a $683 billion state economy.

Kemp is sticking to the script Georgia Republicans have followed in 20 years in power. He will tell voters Thursday that if they reelect him, he will seek a second round of income tax rebates like the $1.1 billion in payments issued this year, according to a Kemp campaign official with knowledge of plans who spoke on condition of anonymity. This year’s payments gave dual-earner households $500, single adults with dependents $375, and single adults $250.

The governor also will seek to revive a property tax break that succumbed in 2009 amid the state budget crisis caused by the Great Recession, the official said in previewing Kemp’s announcement. The tax break, created by Democrat Roy Barnes in 1999, cost the state $428 million in its last year in 2008, saving homeowners $200 to $300 on tax bills.

Kemp said Wednesday that he wants to “help Georgians further fight through a 40-year high inflation and extremely high costs that our citizens are experiencing” focusing on the unpopularity of Democratic President Joe Biden.

Kemp can hand out cash because Georgia’s coffers are fat. The state ran a roughly $5 billion surplus in the year ended June 30, with more than $2 billion in surplus still banked from the year before.

The governor has also repeatedly renewed a gas tax break over five months. His administration plans to draw from the surplus to channel money to roadbuilding in place of what’s already $750 million in foregone fuel taxes. Kemp also signed a state income tax cut that begins in 2024 and could eventually reduce taxes by more than $2 billion.

Abrams already called for another round of income tax rebates. She’s also called on Kemp to suspend the gas tax through the end of 2022, and has pledged to not try to roll back the income tax cut, even though she criticizes benefits to the wealthy.

“While Brian Kemp is following Stacey Abrams’ lead in calling for tax rebates, he’s still pushing an extreme and dangerous agenda that threatens Georgia families and puts our economy at risk,” said Abrams spokesperson Alex Floyd.

Kemp accuses Abrams of backing his policies only because they’re popular.

“She criticized all those things before she came out and is now supporting them,” he said.

Abrams slammed the property tax break in a speech Tuesday, calling it “paying off the property taxes of mansion owners and millionaires.” The Census Bureau says 66% of Georgians own homes, but Abrams focuses on housing affordability and the Kemp administration’s stuttering payout of federal COVID-19 relief to renters.

Kemp used the power of incumbency to stomp Republican challenger David Perdue, delivering benefits and legislative accomplishments before the May primary. But he would have to wait until after any reelection for legislative approval of his new plans, barring an election-season special session.

The governor would be building off Georgia’s record $21.2 billion in state-incentivized business investments last year, with companies committing to create 51,000 jobs. Georgia also has a record-low unemployment rate.

Abrams argues many, especially in rural Georgia, are missing out. She notes Georgia’s income rankings have fallen during two decades of Republican rule.

“Most Georgia families are doing everything right,” Abrams said Tuesday, arguing for more state investment in education and health care to boost everyone. “They work full-time jobs. They’re putting a little away when they can despite rising prices. Yet middle class families are struggling.”

Kemp argues only Democrats are to blame for economic instability.

“The only reason Georgians are worried about going into poverty in rural Georgia right now is because Stacey Abrams helped Joe Biden get elected president,” he said Wednesday, “and we have 40-year-high inflation and everything that they’re buying — whether it’s butter, eggs, milk, meat, any other protein — is astronomical right now.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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No Inflation Spike In The Month Of July

The prices of gas, groceries, cars, and other necessities are decreasing as the Biden administration announced a 0% increase for the month of July.

The Biden administration shared some welcoming news as Americans continue to feel the strain of sky-high prices and record-setting inflation. 

“Today we received news that our economy had 0% inflation in the month of July. Zero percent,” said President Joe Biden. 

Prices are still going up, but not as quickly as they were before. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the Consumer Price Index also known as the CPI, rose 8.5% year-over-year in July. 

That’s a significant slowdown from June’s number of 9.1%. 

One of the biggest drivers here is falling gas prices. 

The average price hit $4.01 per gallon on Wednesday, down exactly $1 from the record high set in June. 

“I have no room for nothing, and the more prices go up, the more I have to take away from me,” said Charles Anderson, an Arizona resident.  

Also seeing a cool-off: the price of clothing, used cars, appliances, and airline fares. 

But it’s a different story for other necessities. 

The food index overall spiked 1.1% in July. 

We’ve been paying more for non-alcoholic beverages, meats, fish, eggs, and fruit. 

The same is true for rent, medical care, and furniture. 

“The price of a hotel per week is just as much as our rent payment. So, my only option is to probably sleep in my car for a month or two until I can save up some money to fix my credit,” said Katie Rister, a Florida resident.  

Analysts are hopeful this downward trend in inflation will continue. 

But they warn it will stay above the Federal Reserve’s 2% annual target well into next year. 

Making it likely the fed will keep its plans to continue hiking interest rates. Making everything from mortgages to credit debt—more expensive. 

Source: newsy.com

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Climate Change Is Impacting The Gender Outcome Of Sea Turtles

By Newsy Staff
August 9, 2022

As temperatures rise, the sand is hotter than normal, which is causing turtle eggs in Florida to only hatch as females.

The extreme heat in Florida is causing a crisis in the sea turtle population.  

Unlike humans, sea turtles do not have chromosomes. When the female turtle deposits her eggs in the sand, the embryo is not sexed. The temperature of the sand determines the gender of a sea turtle.

Research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows turtle eggs incubated below 82 degrees Fahrenheit are hatched as males. If turtle eggs incubate about 89 degrees Fahrenheit they will hatch as females.

In the past four years, virtually every turtle on the Florida beaches has been born female. As temperatures rise, the sand is hotter than normal, which is causing turtle eggs to incubate above 89 degrees Fahrenheit.

Source: newsy.com

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U.S. Economy Shows Another Decline, Fanning Recession Fears

A key measure of economic output fell for the second straight quarter, raising fears that the United States could be entering a recession — or perhaps that one had already begun.

Gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, fell 0.2 percent in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That drop followed a decline of 0.4 percent in the first quarter. The estimates for both periods will be revised in coming months as government statisticians get more complete data.

News of the back-to-back contractions heightened a debate in Washington over whether a recession had begun and, if so, whether President Biden was to blame. Economists largely say that conditions do not meet the formal definition of a recession but that the risks of one are rising.

a bid to tame inflation, and the White House has argued that the slowdown is part of an inevitable and necessary transition to sustainable growth after last year’s rapid recovery.

“Coming off of last year’s historic economic growth — and regaining all the private-sector jobs lost during the pandemic crisis — it’s no surprise that the economy is slowing down as the Federal Reserve acts to bring down inflation,” Mr. Biden said in a statement issued after the release of the G.D.P. report. “But even as we face historic global challenges, we are on the right path, and we will come through this transition stronger and more secure.”

rising consumer prices and declining spending, the American economy is showing clear signs of slowing down, fueling concerns about a potential recession. Here are other eight measures signaling trouble ahead:

“When you’re skating on thin ice, you wonder about what it would take to push you through, and we’re on thin ice right now,” said Diane Swonk, the chief economist for KPMG.

Matthew Martin, 32, is paying more for the butter and eggs that go into the intricately decorated sugar cookies he sells as part of a home business. At the same time, his sales are falling.

“I guess people don’t have as much money to toss at cookies right now,” he said.

Mr. Martin, a single father of two, is trying to cut back on spending, but it isn’t easy. He has replaced trips to the movies with day hikes, but that means spending more on gas. He is hoping to sell his house and move into a less expensive place, but finding a house he can afford to buy has proved difficult, especially as mortgage rates have risen. He has thought about finding a conventional 9-to-5 job to pay the bills, but he would then need to pay for child care for his 4-year-old twins.

“Honestly, I’m not 100 percent sure what I’m going to do,” he said.

defines a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and lasts more than a few months,” and it bases its decisions on a variety of indicators — usually only months after the fact.

Some forecasters believe a recession can be avoided, if inflation cools enough that the Fed can slow interest rate increases before they take too much of a toll on hiring and spending.

The economy still has important areas of strength. Job growth has remained robust, and, despite a recent uptick in filings for unemployment insurance, there is little sign of a broad increase in job losses.

Households, in the aggregate, are sitting on trillions of dollars in savings built up earlier in the pandemic, which could allow them to weather higher prices and interest rates.

“What drives the U.S. consumer is the healthy labor market, and we should really focus on job growth to capture the turning point in this business cycle,” said Blerina Uruci, an economist at T. Rowe Price. The Labor Department will release data on July’s hiring and unemployment next week.

The lingering effects of the pandemic are making the economy’s signals harder to interpret. Americans bought fewer cars, couches and other goods in the second quarter, but forecasters had long expected spending on goods to fall as consumers shifted back toward prepandemic spending patterns. Indeed, economists argue that a pullback in spending on goods is needed to relieve pressure on overstretched supply chains.

At the same time, spending on services accelerated. That could be a sign of consumers’ resilience in the face of soaring airfares and rental car rates. Or it could merely reflect a temporary willingness to put up with high prices, which will fade along with the summer sun.

“There is going to be this element of, ‘We haven’t had a summer vacation in three years, so we’re just going to take one, no matter how much it costs,’” said Aditya Bhave, a senior economist for Bank of America. “The question is what happens after the summer.”

Avital Ungar is trying to interpret the conflicting signals in real time. Ms. Ungar operates a small business running food tours for tourists and corporate groups in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

When restaurants closed and travel stopped early in the pandemic, Ms. Ungar had no revenue. She made it through by offering virtual happy hours and online cooking classes. When in-person tours came back, business was uneven, shifting with each new coronavirus variant. Ms. Ungar said demand remained hard to predict as prices rise and the economy slows.

“We’re in two different types of uncertainty,” she said. “There was the pandemic uncertainty, and then there’s the economic uncertainty right now.”

In response, Ms. Ungar has shifted her focus to higher-end tours, which she believes will hold up better than those aimed at more price-sensitive customers. And she is trying to avoid long-term commitments that could be difficult to get out of if demand cools.

“Every annual plan I’ve done in the past three years has not happened that way,” she said. “It’s really important to recognize that what worked yesterday isn’t going to work tomorrow.”

Lydia DePillis contributed reporting.

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