Will the US see a ‘richsession’ – or will economic turmoil hit the poor hardest?

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An expected recession in the US will hit the richest Americans harder than those at the bottom, the Wall Street Journal said this week, coining the term “richcession” to describe the phenomenon. But analysts say there are reasons to believe any coming recession would unfold like the ones before, hurting the poorest the most.

Even if economists are not quite unanimous in forecasting a US recession in 2023, there is little doubt that growth will slow significantly. In this context, a “richsession” would make a big difference from the “usual pattern, in which the poorest are first to suffer”, noted David Philippy, a historian specialising in US economic thought at CY Cergy Paris University.

“White-collar workers bear brunt of downturn,” proclaimed a Washington Post headline in late December.

Recent layoffs across the tech industry add to this narrative of who is getting hit hardest by the slowing economy, with the Washington Post reporting that more than 80,000 tech employees had been laid off by the end of November. And that was before other such announcements followed; Amazon said on January 4 that it plans to shed 18,000 workers this year.

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