The Recession Predictions Keep Coming

If you’re worried about the next recession, you’re not alone. And you never will be.

Recent history has dispensed a glut of warnings. The only missing element in the mix: an actual recession. Unusual? Not quite.

The deep state of anticipating a new economic downturn is a hardy perennial. Last November, I highlighted some of the recession forecasts over the previous seven years – a period that’s been notable for the lack of an NBER-defined recession. Fast forward six months and, well, nothing’s changed. The recession warnings keep rolling in and the economy continues to expand.

Does that mean that recessions have been banished? Hardly. But forever seeing trouble around the next bend isn’t useful either. Ditto for issuing vague warnings with minimal, if any, supporting data or transparent methodologies that can be replicated.

Fortunately, there’s a better way – The Capital Spectator’s monthly reviews of business-cycle risk, for example — here’s this month’s udpate. Aggregating analytics from a range of sources via the weekly updates of The US Business Cycle Risk Report is another.

The cold, hard truth is that predicting recessions is impossible, at least from the perspective of developing a reliable methodology with a minimal run of false signals. The next best thing is analyzing a broad set of indicators to determine when a new downturn has started in recent history. The challenge is doing so with a short lag while maintaining a high degree of reliability. It’s tougher than it sounds. The good news: it’s not impossible.

As for the constant stream of warnings that show up in the media, the track record isn’t encouraging. The warnings, however, never stop, as the recent examples below remind.

One day another downturn will start, perhaps sooner than expected. How can you identify the genuine article? Ignoring the noise in the media is a good start.

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Every time a President leaves the White House after two terms, there is a recession within the first year of the new administration. I believe this time will be no different.
Mark Yusko, CIO, Morgan Creek Capital Management, May 29, 2017

We probably will have a recession next year
David Rosenberg, chief economist, Gluskin Sheff, May 25, 2017

…without some form of serious stimulus, the U.S. economy almost certainly will slip into recession well before 2020.
Robert Shapiro, chairman, Sonecon, May 23, 2017

[Artificial Intelligence] Predicts Next US Recession to Start in 2019
Financial Sense, May 15, 2017

A recession in the United States is likely to come within the next two years.
George Friedman, chairman, Geopolitical Futures, May 2, 2017

Currently, the consensus of business economists is that there is only a 15% chance of a recession in the next 12 months. My reading of the data indicates that the odds are much higher than that, maybe 50%, specifically if tax reform or some other economic stimulus is delayed to 2018, and certainly if the Fed continues on its current tightening path.
Robert Barone, economist, Fieldstone Financial, May 1, 2017

A recession in the United States is likely to come in the next two years.
George Friedman, geopolitical forecaster and strategist, April 26, 2017

Is The Trump Administration Doomed To A Recession? History Says Yes
Simon Constable, a fellow at The Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health and the Study of Business Enterprise, January 18, 2017

My outlook for 2017 and beyond is that the U.S. economy will likely see another recession.
Jay Zagorsky, Ohio State University, December 30, 2016

When the reality of no stimulus catches up with the perception of stimulus plus the Fed tightening: that’s the train wreck. Either we’re going to have a recession or a stock market correction.
Jim Rickards, director, The James Rickards Project, December 26, 2016

From a probability perspective, a recession is very likely in President Trump’s first term in office.
Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist, CFRA, November 20, 2016

So we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight.
Paul Krugman, economist, November 8, 2016

A Donald Trump win could spark an immediate sell-off of up to 5 percent for the S&P 500, according to analysts at Citi, who also warn on slower growth or even recession for the U.S.
CNBC, November 4, 2016

Economists Believe a Recession Is Likely Within Next Four Years
The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2016

The odds that the next US President will face a recession during his or her first four years in office are quite high. Maybe not in the first year, but it’s highly unlikely he or she will get more than two to three years without one.
John Maudlin, Maudlin Economics, October 12, 2016

We looked at all of these indicators that have been pretty good at forecasting recessions and we extrapolated that if they follow the current trends they’re on, we’re going to hit a recession sometime in the second half of next year.
Savita Subramanian, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch’s head of U.S. equity and quantitative strategy, October 9, 2016

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