One of the factors deeply worrying many Democratic politicos ahead of the rapidly approaching 2020 election is the obstinately booming economy under President Trump. Amid an increasingly lengthy string of excellent jobs reports, however, we’ve repeatedly heard rumblings of an impending “recession” just around the corner. Probably. Maybe.
Back in September, CNBC provided a helpful “list of recession signals that are flashing red” amid an alleged “dramatic spike” in fears of an economic downturn:
Google searches show recession fears have spiked dramatically since the end of July, when the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis. Data is coming at investors from every angle with so-called recession indicators flashing signs of an economic slowdown brought on by slower growth abroad and the U.S.-China trade war. A slowing global economy is pressuring central banks abroad to lower borrowing rates at unprecedented levels and a tit-for-tat tariff war between Washington and Beijing is weighing on business sentiment.
Three months — and three additional solid BLS reports later — Bloomberg asked the question that it apparently believed was on everyone’s mind, despite what it admitted were “record-high stock prices and positive hiring momentum”: “Is a recession coming?”
Amid record-high stock prices and positive hiring momentum, recession chatter continues to ebb. However, lingering trade war uncertainty and pullbacks in corporate investment remain risks to the U.S. outlook.
Bloomberg Economics created a model to determine America’s recession odds. The latest update, which looks at October data, estimates the chance of a U.S. recession within the next year at 29%, after an upwardly revised 27% in the prior month. That reading is lower than highs reached earlier this year and will likely move lower given initial positive readings across November data.
With January now mid-stride and fears of a war with Iran receding, prompting historically high stock market numbers, how likely is that ever-impending “Trump recession” going? And will it come in time to save the Democrats in November?
Barron’s gathered what it describes as “some of Wall Street’s best minds” to discuss — “as we do every January for our annual Roundtable” — what to expect out of the economy this year. What it found will deeply disappoint Democrats banking on that “recession” to topple Trump. According to a consensus of economic experts, Barron’s reports, “there’s almost no chance of a recession this year”:
Investors entered 2020 with the financial markets heading higher and a lot of optimism about the economy. Then the latest flare-up in the long conflict with Iran reminded everyone of the many geopolitical risks lurking under the seemingly placid surface of the market.
But the 10 veteran investors and economists who convened in New York on Jan. 6 at the Barron’s offices agree that there’s almost no chance of a recession this year, and their view of stocks is decidedly, albeit cautiously, optimistic.
According to Barron’s, there’ll almost certainly be no recession bailout for the Democrats. Instead, the nominee is likely going to have to beat an incumbent president who, while still struggling in the polls, has a booming economy at his back.