(WFXR) — According to the Department of Labor, the U.S. saw the highest number of applications for jobless aid in almost six months last week. On the flip side, Virginia is actually seeing the number of unemployed people decreasing.

Dr. Alice Kassens, the John S. Shannon Professor of Economics at Roanoke College, says people shouldn’t be afraid of the current state of the economy.

“People are spending a lot of money, they’re buying a lot of goods and services, so the economy is doing really well,” said Kassens.

She says people think the status of the economy is what prices are, but it is more than that.

“That is understandable because it’s what they see when they go to the grocery store. Their paycheck doesn’t go as far as it did last month or last year,” Kassens explained.

A professor of finance at Virginia Tech, Dr. Raman Kumar, is reading the economy a bit differently, saying that the slight drop in the gross domestic product (GDP) is showing a significant slowdown. However, that’s not a good sign.

“The first quarter — which is January, February, and March — the real GDP declined by 1.6%. Now, if the second-quarter number that’s going to be released by the end of July — that’s for April, May, and June — also shows a decline, then we will be officially in a recession,” said Kumar.

Hypothetically, if there is a recession and it continues to worsen, Americans could see more layoffs, according to Kumar.

“Those of us who are in a wonderful job, we could lose it if there is a recession, and if our cash balances are not good, we should be cutting back on the spending in case we get laid off,” he told WFXR News.

As for Kassens, she believes that recessions are inevitable because the economy is going to naturally ebb and flow. In addition, she says while the GDP fell in the last quarter, it’s important to look at why.

“It was largely our trade,” Kassens said. “So we had large amounts of imports and that caused GDP to fall.”

On the other hand, Kassens says that consumer spending — which makes up 70% of the economy — was up, so even if the next quarter comes out with another negative number, we still would not be in a recession.

Like Kassens, though, Kumar also warns against stressing out about a recession.

According to both professors, if everybody starts to buy less, a recession will occur. They add that people sometimes scare themselves into the worst-case scenario, which could increase the likelihood of recession.

In addition, Kassens says that our world is durable and that our country has survived many recessions.

“We’ve had recession after recession and the biggest one of them all, the Great Depression, and we have survived and we have come back stronger than before,” Kassens stated.

However, if you want to make sure you’re financially secure in case a recession does happen, Kumar says it might be time to cut back on non-essential spending, like vacations.

When it comes to durable spending, like owning a car, the Virginia Tech professor says you may want to think about driving it for another year or two rather than looking to buy a new one.