Q And what is the prospect of the economy heading into a recession?
CHAIRMAN LAZEAR: Again, we think that the growth rate this quarter will be low. There are indicators suggesting that growth will pick up, and pick up quickly. So the question is how quickly will it pick up. We think it will pick up — as I mentioned, we think it will pick up by the summer. The consumer is going to get a pretty big influx of cash in May; we think those checks will go out — it will go out to a large number of Americans, that will help the retail sector, it will help a variety of sectors, and we expect that to stimulate the economy.
Q What’s the answer to the question, though? Do you think there will be a recession?
CHAIRMAN LAZEAR: As I said, we are predicting much slower growth for this quarter. Recessions are things that are declared by other people — National Bureau of Economic Research — tends to happen well, well, a long time after the actual activity. So what we’re focused on is economic growth and making sure that the economy turns around.
Q Okay. Can I follow up? I’m sorry, I already interrupted. (Laughter.) This is different than what you’ve said before. Before from the podium, you’ve said — or other presidential advisors have said that there will not be a recession. Have you downgraded your forecast for the economy?
CHAIRMAN LAZEAR: We have definitely downgraded our forecast for this quarter. I’m still not saying that there is a recession. There is no denying that when you get negative job numbers, realistically the economy is less strong than we had hoped it would be. That’s the reality.