Finance – Is the Recession On, or Not?

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May 2, 2023 by Scott Crosby - Views: 32

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Finance – Is the Recession On, or Not?

Every pundit, investor, banker, and financial expert seems to have his own answer to the question:  are we in a recession, or is the economy making a comeback, or will the current recession become worse?

S560-1.jpgBank of America’s CEO has become the latest to jump into the fray.  You might consider what he has to say (at least according to quotes in the news article) to be a bit unclear.  

CEO Brian Moynihan expects the economy to “slide” into a recession later this year.

Just trying to interpret that statement is problematic.  Does that mean we are not in a recession now?

The stock market still looks like it is in a recession.  Stock prices are still low.  Those who are retired are anxiously watching their IRA and 401k savings smolder away.

It is true that unemployment is very low, at 3.5%.  Jobs are certainly available at all levels.  So many Baby Boomers retired due to COVID that the open job positions could not be readily filled (and, to be truthful, the many Millennials who are so spoiled by their parents that they are not looking for jobs).  

And the supply-chain problems that had ensued due to COVID are substantially reduced.

Moynihan men-tions one cause of the recession is the massive spending by the President and Congressional Democrats throughout 2021 and 2022.  He is certainly correct on that.

The Republicans, now in control of the House, have effectively halted any further spending bills.  Unfortunately, halting the spending already in progress due to the 2021-2022 Democrats will not be easy nor likely to happen.

Interestingly, Moynihan does not expect the potential "recession" to affect consumers.

One can only respond, "That is an awfully selective recession."

Who does he think will be impacted?  “Commercial customers” is the apparent answer.  But there is no explanation of what that means.  

Apparently, according to the article, Bank of America’s economists have been warning of a recession for a year.

Again, it must be asked, “So what is it we have been dealing with?  Given the stock market peaked in November of 2021, and is still 15% to 20% below that peak, with no real recovery in sight, what other word can be applied to that time since then other than ‘recession’?”

You have to wonder:  have these Bank of America economists been sliding their prediction of a recession, until one finally happens to occur?  Is a recession just wishful thinking, or are there some facts-based calculations behind the expectation?  

The article does not provide an answer to that.

Bank of America economists are, however, concerned about the high rate of inflation and the raising of interest rates by the Fed.  

That is hardly profound.  Everyone has that concern.  Everyone also wants the sun to rise tomorrow, as well.

Actually, however, the Federal Reserve has made a similar statement:  “Given their assessment of the potential economic effects of the recent banking-sector developments, the staff’s projection at the time of the March meeting included a mild recession starting later this year, with a recovery over the subsequent two years.”


Jobs at all levels are available; that should continue to be true.

Stock prices are not going to go down much; some will go up.  So investors can make money, but must be cautious, and do the necessary research before buying any given stock.

Do not expect a return to the days of reduced governmental impact on the economy.  Stocks will not be growing in value at the rate we enjoyed from 2016 through 2020 for the foreseeable future.

Would we enjoy a brighter economic future if Trump were to be reelected to the Presidency in 2024?

The real question is:  did Trump learn during his Presidency which of his actions helped the economy, and which of his actions hurt the economy?

If Trump is not elected President in 2024, will any of the other candidates be more a help than a hindrance to the economy?


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