Are we in a recession? Plus, Sen. Manchin agrees to climate deal, Bernard Cribbins dies, and more trending news

Take a look at some trending topics for today, July 28.

Recession

The U.S. economy has contracted for two straight quarters, intensifying fears that the nation is on the cusp of a recession — if not already in one — barely two years after the pandemic recession officially ended.

Six months of contraction is a long-held informal definition of a recession. Yet nothing is simple in the post-pandemic economy. Its direction has confounded Federal Reserve policymakers and many private economists since growth screeched to a halt in March 2020 as COVID-19 struck and 20 million Americans were suddenly thrown out of work.

Even as the economy shrank over the first half of this year, employers added 2.7 million jobs — more than in most entire years before the pandemic struck. And the unemployment rate has sunk to 3.6%, near a half-century low. Robust hiring and exceedingly low unemployment aren’t consistent with a recession.

So are we in one?

<p>FILE - Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks to reporters outside the hearing room where he chairs the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, at the Capitol in Washington, July 19, 2022. Manchin announced Wednesday, July 27, that he had reached an expansive agreement with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer which had eluded them for months on health care costs, energy and climate issues, taxing higher earners and large corporations and reducing federal debt.</p>

J. Scott Applewhite – staff, AP

Joe Manchin

In a startling turnabout, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin announced an expansive agreement Wednesday that had eluded them for months addressing health care and climate, raising taxes on high earners and large corporations and reducing federal debt.

The two Democrats said the Senate would vote on the wide-ranging measure next week, setting up President Joe Biden and Democrats for an unexpected victory in the runup to November elections in which their congressional control is in peril. A House vote would follow, perhaps later in August, with unanimous Republican opposition in both chambers seemingly certain.

Just hours earlier, Schumer, D-N.Y., and Manchin, D-W.Va., seemed at loggerheads and headed toward a far narrower package limited — at Manchin’s insistence — to curbing pharmaceutical prices and extending federal health care subsidies.

Read more about it here:

<p>Bernard Cribbins, "Doctor Who" star and beloved children's entertainer, has died.</p>

Brian J Ritchie/Shutterstock

Bernard Cribbins, "Doctor Who" star and beloved children's entertainer, has died.

Bernard Cribbins

Bernard Cribbins, a stage and screen actor who appeared on “Doctor Who” and narrated the British children’s series “The Wombles,” has died, his talent agency confirmed. He was 93.

“Bernard’s contribution to British entertainment is without question,” his agency said in a statement to CNN. “He was unique, typifying the best of his generation, and will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him.”

Cribbins’ acting career spanned six decades, much of it spent in children’s entertainment in the 1960s and ’70s. His role as Wilfred Mott on the long-running British series “Doctor Who,” as an ally to David Tennant’s time-traveling Doctor, reintroduced him to viewers who grew up with him.

Read more about his life here:

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