Recession watch: More Americans struggling to pay their bills, Census Bureau reports

About 90 million households are having a somewhat or very difficult time paying their bills

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An increasing percentage of American households are having difficulty paying their bills as inflation continues to wreak havoc on budgets across the country.

"Joe Biden is failing," Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said on Twitter Tuesday in reaction to a U.S. Census Bureau survey that found roughly 150 million American households have reported having at least some difficulty meeting their household expenses in the last seven days.

The U.S. Census Bureau survey, conducted between June 29 and July 11, found that over 48 million American households had a "somewhat difficult" time meeting their household expenses and over 43 million had a "very difficult" time. Another 58 million households were having a "little difficult" time meeting expenses.

The roughly 90 million households having a somewhat or very difficult time meeting expenses represents the highest measure the Census Bureau has found since it started asking the question nearly two years ago, up from about 60 million at this time last year.

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. (AP)

The findings come as Americans have battled inflation levels unseen in nearly 40 years, surging to 9.1% in June, according to the latest Labor Department consumer price index numbers. Leading the charge are household necessities such as food and energy, with energy prices rising 41.6% since last year and food prices rising 10.4%.

President Biden has said that tackling surging inflation is the administration's "top priority," even as some White House officials have attempted to downplay fears over a looming recession.

"So, if you look at the economic indicators as the president was laying out, if you look at the labor market, right now, we are seeing historic unemployment," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday. "If you look at low unemployment at 3.6, if you look at the average amount of jobs that have been created, it's about 400 [thousand] per month. Those indicators do not show that we are in a recession or even a pre-recession."

President Joe Biden.

President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

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But some experts have warned that a recession, which is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, has already started.

"The first quarter was negative. The second quarter probably is negative as well. If you believe the Atlanta Fed, the recession is already here," former Reagan administration economist Art Laffer told Fox Business last week. "We're in a recession. The question is, how bad is it going to be?"