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U.S. Economy is 'Tipping Into a New Recession'

Economics / Double Dip Recession Oct 01, 2011 - 05:16 PM GMT

By: Bloomberg


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleLakshman Achuthan of the Economic Cycle Research Institute told Bloomberg Radio's Tom Keene and Ken Prewitt this morning on "Bloomberg Surveillance" that the "U.S. economy is tipping into a new recession."

Achuthan said that "you have wildfire among leading indicators across the board," which is a "deadly combination" and "not reversible."

Highlights of the interview:

Achuthan on whether he agrees with Bank of Tokyo Chief Financial Economist Chris Rupkey, who said to forget about a recession:

"I'm afraid not. We are publicly stating today that we are going into a new recession. The U.S. economy is tipping into a new recession. We made this call last week to our clients, and today I am saying it publicly. And this recession - this is what we do, by the way, as you know is study recessions and recoveries. And we don't make these calls lightly. When we make them, it is because there is an overwhelming objective message coming out of our forward looking indicators, and it is not just one. We have dozens of leading indexes for the U.S., and I would say the word is contagion in what is going on among those leading indicators. It is wild fire. It is recessionary. It is not reversible."

On whether the recession will begin in the fourth quarter or first quarter:

"I don't know, okay? So I am saying we are tipping into recession. We will know the answer to that question a year from now when the data is finished being revised. The recession could be starting right here under our feet. Jeffrey Moore reminded me you are doing very well as a forecaster if you recognize a recession when it is starting."

"This is not a double dip. Many people say it can't be a new recession because we never came out of the last one. We absolutely did. We had about over a two year expansion. This is very consistent with shifting into an era of more frequent recessions. This is not unusual. From 1799 to 1929, the average length of 90 percent of the expansions was three years or less."

On whether he can tell the potential duration of recession:

"Not yet. We have to wait and see. Our forward looking indicators have not turned up, so we at least have a couple of quarters of worsening economy in front of us. So to be clear, if you think this is about the economy, I am not going to argue with you. But you haven't seen anything yet."

"A recession is not a statistic. It is a vicious cycle that is going to get quite a bit worse. And I would recall that back in '08 - so we are inside the recession of August of '08 and we are looking at our leading indicators, which were showing us the worst global economy in 30 years, that was pre-Lehman. Then you had Lehman and it got even worse than we could have imagined the last recession."

On the gloomiest thing he sees:

"The contagion. And this is really I think something that models basically miss. But it is the contagion, that you have wild fire among the leading indicators across the board. So non-financial services plunging, manufacturing plunging, exports plunging. That is such a deadly combination there is virtually nothing that can be done to avert what is going to happen."

On unemployment:

"The unemployment rate is going to rise. Month-to-month it is a little bit of a guessing game. But the trend is up from here and noticeably. So this is going to get much worse before it gets better. It is going to run a little bit...You know, I would not be surprised if we go into double dip. That would not surprise me at all...If it is a short recession, you may get this thing starting to recover. But we see no evidence here of the end of this downturn that we've got. The shortest technically it could be is about six months."

On whether he's using the classic definition of a recession, which is two consecutive quarters of negative growth:

"Absolutely not. Absolutely not. That is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition. In 2001, you didn't have two negative quarters of GDP, but we lost three million jobs. So what it is is it's a process, and I think people miss this."

"It is when sales disappoint so production falls, so employment falls, so incomes fall, and then sales fall. Again, - when I call a recession, when the forward looking indicators have the contagion or weakness as they do, that means that process is starting to feed on itself, which means that you can yell and scream, and you can write a big check, but it is not going to stop."

Copyright © 2011 Bloomberg - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

© 2005-2019 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

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