Of one thing John Mauldin is certain: noting that the average expansion cycle since 1854 has been 40 months, the financial analyst in Forbes Magazine notes: “We are 114 months into the current expansion, the second-longest in U.S. history.”
“A recession is coming,” says Mauldin. “The question is when.”
The website MarketWatch, in analyzing a variety of less-than-positive trends, reports: “The risks to the economy seem to be multiplying, from trade tensions to national security threats to a president who prefers to conduct the nation’s affairs via Twitter.”
“The effects of President Trump’s tax cuts have led to increased stock buybacks, not the jobs he promised,” reports the investing website thebalance.com. “Also, companies are concerned about uncertainty resulting from the trade war.”
Probably most important, the Federal Reserve has confirmed fears that the nation’s economy is cooling off. As a result, it has pulled back plans to raise interest rates early this year.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell, in a late December press conference, described economic conditions as “softening,” with the stock market facing “a little bit of volatility.”
Don’t worry, contends J.D. Foster, the senior vice president for economic policy with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “It’s entirely possible the economy will slip into a recession in 2020,” he writes on the Commerce’s website. “Some disastrous policy mistakes can never be ruled out, especially with so many trade war threats and overseas trouble in play.”
“But for the moment,” adds Foster, “there’s not a scintilla of a hint in the actual economy to suggest anything but a moderate easing toward a sustainable growth path.”
Bruce Yandle, dean emeritus of the Clemson University College of Business & Behavioral Science, agrees.
Looking at a historically low unemployment rate, Gross Domestic Product quarterly growth, and consumer activity, Yandle, writing for the Washington Examiner, contends, “It is unlikely that 2018’s strong pace of growth will continue. We should look for growth in the year ahead to range close to 2.8 percent at most.”
For the present, says Yandle, most of the indicators looks good. “We have plenty to celebrate,” he writes.
But what happens beyond 2019, Yandle adds, is anyone’s guess: “The year ahead should look like a slightly paler version of 2018, but the later years could be weaker.”
By Garry Boulard
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