PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After two quarters of negative growth, the Central Bank announced on Thursday the U.S. economy grew 2.6 percent in the third quarter this year. Despite this, inflation remains at a 40-year high leaving many Americans fearful of a possible recession.

Hiro Ito, economist professor at Portland State University, said a recession happens when the GDP shrinks two quarters in a row, which happened in January through June of this year.

Ito said experts predicted the Feds’ third quarter analysis would show the economy growing again and that is why it’s unclear whether or not the U.S. is currently in an economic recession.

“We cannot really say, recession is here for sure,” said Ito. “Once a recession happens, then usually, the rate of unemployment rises, which means there are more people who lose their jobs, then also, it’ll be more difficult to find a job. But as I said, the labor market has been quite active at this point.”

During a true recession, Ito warns Americans would see weaker consumption and weaker investment, along with many people losing their jobs. But the that kind of recession hasn’t reportedly started, yet.

Ito told KOIN 6 News that there are strong signs and weak signs of the economy.

One of the stronger elements, according to Ito, is the labor market. It’s relatively easy to find a job that pays well and people have leverage when it comes to where they want to work.

Meanwhile, the housing market serves as a weaker signs thanks to the difficulty of selling a home as buyers face high mortgage rates.

In order for inflation to be mitigated, Ito said the economy needs to slow down. However, that can lead to a recession.

“If the Fed cannot control inflation, then that means the Fed will have to keep raising the policy interest rate,” said Ito. “Then, if that happens, then the economy can experience a severe recession, even if it succeeds, retaining containing inflation. So inflation is a big issue.”

Ito said the state of the economy will likely stay volatile.