The U.S. economy contracted to start the year, but a recession hardly appears imminent

Aerial view of containers piled at the Port of Los Angeles on January 19, 2022 in San Pedro, California.
Qian Weizhong | VCG | Getty Images

Technically speaking, the negative economic growth in the first quarter looks like the U.S. is halfway down the road to recession.

After all, the generally accepted definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters with a minus sign before the gross domestic product number.

A look under the hood suggests the U.S. economy is probably still way short of falling into recession, though the trends are not necessarily encouraging.