Buffett says economy is in recession

Billionaire financier and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett plays bridge with cards with his picture on during the shareholders annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, May 4, 2008. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - Warren Buffett, the world’s richest person, said on Sunday the U.S. economy is in recession, “as I define it.”

Buffett’s comment was at odds with a U.S. Commerce Department report last week showing the economy grew at a 0.6 percent annualized rate in the first quarter.

“The U.S. is in recession as I define it,” Buffett said at a news conference. “I would define that as a situation where people are doing less well than they were three months, six months or eight months earlier and most businesses find themselves in that position too.

“If were are in a non-recession, I don’t think people want to see it going in the same direction as it is and saying it’s wonderful,” Buffett added.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Andre Grenon