But in a blog post on July 21, the White House Council of Economic Advisers attempted to change the definition of a recession, saying that two consecutive quarters of falling GDP doesn’t mean the country is in a recession.

“What is a recession? While some maintain that two consecutive quarters of falling real GDP constitute a recession, that is neither the official definition nor the way economists evaluate the state of the business cycle,” the blog post states.

Citing figures from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the post states that their “recession indicator variables” have “exhibited strong growth in the U.S. economy since the start of the pandemic, and have continued to expand through the first half of this year.”

Thursday’s GDP report revealed back-to-back declines in growth, bringing the economy to the technical criteria for a recession, which requires a “significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and that lasts more than a few months.”

Still, the NBER — the semi-official arbiter — may not confirm it immediately as it typically waits up to a year to call it.

The NBER has also stressed that it relies on more data than GDP in determining whether there’s a recession, such as unemployment and consumer spending, which remained strong in the first six months of the year. It also takes into consideration the depth of any decline in economic activity.