Even though some high-profile experts claim the U.S. is not headed for a recession right now, the liberal news media continued to promote economic pessimism during the summer of 2019.
Despite 3.7 percent (near record-low) unemployment, wage gains, confident consumers and growing economy, liberal journalists obsessed over recession every single day of June and July.
More recently, at least one journalist openly sided with left-wing comedian Bill Maher who wants a recession to get rid of President Donald Trump. NBC’s Richard Engel chimed in “Short-term pain might be better than long-term destruction of the constitution,” after Maher said “I really do” want a recession on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher Aug. 9.
A recession is generally considered two quarters or more of negative economic growth. That hasn’t stopped the media from pushing “dark clouds” and the likelihood of a recession coming soon, possibly even before the 2020 election. That could have serious consequences if economist Mohamed El-Erian was correct when he warned “we’ve got to be careful because we can talk ourselves into a recession.”
The media’s hatred for Trump and his policies was evident as they blamed him for creating conditions that could cause a recession. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes called Trump “hellbent” on causing one, while Business Insider wrote that “economists” feared the same thing. Another time, an economic analyst on Morning Joe accused Trump of being “on the verge of taking the ball and throwing it into the grandstand” rather than scoring a touchdown.
The Telegraph (UK) even wrote “how a US recession could kick Donald Trump out of the White House.”
Perhaps a downturn to drive him out of office was exactly what the liberal press were hoping for?
Recession talk was like a form of Chinese water torture, with each day at least one more story filled with fear, panic or predictions of a looming recession. Drip. Drip. Drip.
Bloomberg’s June 18, headline “Markets Are Acting like a Recession Is Unavoidable” sounded sure there was cause for panic. Others stories were calmer, but still worked hard to make claims of a coming recession sound credible. When the yield curve inverted, MarketWatch boosted a professor with a “perfect track record” forecasting recession, citing the inverted yield curve as an “excellent predictor” on June 5. Rarely, did complaints about the yield curve admit its imperfections or include critics who argue “it is no longer a reliable recession predictor.”
The media often latched onto economic data like the yield curve, or softer manufacturing numbers or a poor jobs report portraying them as signs recession was coming. However, when there was good economic news it didn’t prompt them to reverse course.
Admissions that the jobs market was “still strong” and that the stock market finished with its “best June in decades, capping strong half of 2019,” did little to counter the frequent, repeated bearish outlook from the liberal media.
It would easy to think looking at the recession stories from June and July that economic experts all fear a recession is on the way, but that wasn’t the case. There have been banking CEOs, experts and economists all contradicting the recession narrative — but getting little notice. Bank of America’s CEO Brian Moynihan anticipated a slowdown, but not a recession. He told CNNMoney writer Matt Egan people were confusing slower growth with recession.
On Aug. 6, CNBC anchor Jim Cramer proclaimed “We are not going into recession, people.” He said the tariffs would not cause a recession because “We have too much steam to fold.”
In April, J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon also dismissed recession fears saying the economy was “in good shape” and the expansion could “go on for years.”
“There may be a confluence of events that somehow causes a recession, but it may not be in 2019, 2020, 2021,” Dimon continued.
The liberal media’s bearish coverage was further evidence of the difference between economic news under Trump or another Republican, compared to Democratic President Barack Obama. Media were on the lookout for “recovery” throughout Obama’s tenure following the financial crisis and recession. Under Trump, liberal news outlets hyped bad news, ignored or minimized good news. The Media Research Center also found disparate economic coverage under Clinton and Bush administrations.
Just as it did in March 2019, MRC Business kept track through both June and July to prove that each and every calendar day was marked by recession fears, forecasts and speculations. Here's what we found:
June 1: SF Chronicle: ‘Reliable’ Warning Light ‘Blinking Yes’ for Recession
A San Francisco Chronicle headline warned, “Recession ahead? A reliable warning light is blinking ‘yes,’” as the month of June began. Business columnist Kathleen Pender fretting over the latest yield curve inversion calling it “a pretty reliable predictor of recessions.” She warned that inversions occurred before “most or all” of the recessions of the past 60 years and noted recessions following an inversion could take “a year or more to materialize.”
Only late in the column did she include an economist who thinks the yield curve is pointing to a Federal Reserve rate cut, but not a recession.
June 2: CNBC Cites Morgan Stanley Fears of Global Recession
CNBC reporter Tucker Higgins wrote that “investors were downplaying the threat posed by the U.S.-China trade war, which could send the global economy into recession in less than a year.” He noted a slowdown could “hamstring” Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.
Higgins cited Morgan Stanley chief economist Chetan Ahya who feared the U.S. “could end up in a recession in three quarters” if Trump imposes more of the threatened tariffs on China. Ahya dismissed the idea that his warning was “alarmist.”
June 3: CNBC Projects ‘High Chance of Recession Next Year’
“Forecasters are growing more and more worried that the U.S. could enter recession by the end of 2020,” co-host Sara Eisen declared on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street on June 3.
She discussed the possibility with senior economics reporter Steve Liesman who blamed Trump’s protectionism for causing a shift “from worry to almost convinced about a recession.” He cited the National Association for Business Economics’ (NABE) projection of “a high chance of recession next year,” with a 60 percent probability “by the end of 2020.”
June 4: Fortune Says ‘Majority of Economists’ Anticipate Recession By 2020 Election
Fortune Magazine contributor Erik Sherman complained “not all is good” with the U.S. economy. Referring to the same NABE survey CNBC was concerned by, Sherman wrote, “A majority think a recession is possible before the next presidential inauguration.”
He also cited National Retail Federation chief economist Jack Kleinhenz, who worried about “headwinds in the housing market” and anticipated lower residential investment in 2020. He also feared a negative impact of trade policy on the economy.
June 5: MarketWatch Cites Professor with ‘Perfect Track Record’ to Predict Recession
MarketWatch columnist Howard Gold boosted recession fears by turning to yield curve expert Duke professor Campbell Harvey. Gold wrote that Harvey had a “perfect track record” predicting recessions. Harvey told him “slower growth is coming,” and shared the “ominous” concern that the momentum of the yield curve is toward inversion.
“The empirical track record suggests that if you have a full quarter of inversion, then that is followed by a recession,” Harvey said.
June 6: CNN Suggest Tariffs on Mexico Could Lead to ‘All-Out Recession’
CNN Newsroom anchor Poppy Harlow warned the president “may be taking a big gamble with the economy” by threatening Mexico with tariffs. Citing a new report that estimated “more than 400,000 American jobs” would be lost if the tariffs were applied.
“The stakes are massive for the American economy,” CNN Business writer Matt Egan declared.
Harlow said, “The question then becomes: ‘Well what if those tariffs get ratcheted up to 25 percent, which the president has said could happen by October, and if that could lead to an all-out recession?’”
Egan supported the fear of a trade-cause downturn saying, “The concern is that this could lead to some sort of a severe economic slowdown or even a recession. Economists I speak to say that is a possibility, that this is a bad idea.”
June 7: MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Says Trump is ‘Hellbent’ on Causing a Recession
“It is pretty hard to unilaterally precipitate a recession from the Oval Office in the middle of a growing economy, but the president seems hellbent on making it happen,” MSNBC host Chris Hayes declared on All in With Chris Hayes June 7.
Following that alarmist statement, he invited left-wing economist Robert Reich on his show to criticize Trump and complain about the economy.
Reich denounced the May jobs report as “really bad” after it showed only 75,000 jobs added that month. Reich said that “slowdown,” coupled with the imposition of tariffs could send the U.S. into a recession “certainly before the election.
June 8: NY Times Anticipates ‘Sober’ 10-Year Growth Anniversary
Weeks before hitting the 10 year mark for economic growth without a recession, New York Times columnist Jeff Sommer warned “there may not be revelry” for that milestone.
“Instead, we are likely to see a sober anniversary, burdened by hypotheticals and gloomy predictions,” Sommer said. He described a conversation with Stanford professor Robert Hall, head of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s (NBER) Business Cycle Dating Committee.
Sommer asked Hall whether he could “confirm” that he “doesn’t think a recession is underway or likely to start soon.” He posed that question to the entirely wrong person, since that’s not what NBER does — it only dates them after the fact.
“No, unfortunately, I can’t say that,” Hall replied. “Because you never really know about a recession, do you?”
June 9: Forbes Anticipates ‘Higher Recession Risks’ Later
Forbes contributor Teresa Ghilarducci added to the media chorus concerned about a recession saying, “Recent economic news has pointed toward higher recession risks.”
“May’s monthly employment report was a gloomy signal for the economy. Only 75,000 new jobs were added, below economists’ forecasts and well below 2018’s monthly average of 223,000,” she continued. She also cited the inverted yield curve and several economic forecasts.
She worried that the Fed wouldn’t be able to do enough to curb an economic slowdown because of already low interest rates.
June 10: CNBC Cites Expert, Fears Fed May Be ‘Too Late to Stop Recession’
CNBC.com again sounded the alarm based on Morgan Stanley’s economic projections, warning that even if the Fed decided to cut rates this summer, “things may already be too far gone.”
Reporter Maggie Fitzgerald cited Morgan Stanley’s equity strategist Michael Wilson, who told clients the “Fed could cut as soon as July but it may not halt slowdown/recession.” Among his fears were “very real macro risks,” including “weak jobs data, low inflation and escalating trade tensions.”
June 11: WashPost Publishes Former Biden Adviser’s Recession Worries
Left-wing economist Jared Bernstein viewed the May jobs report as a sign that the economic expansion “could be softening,” according to his opinion piece in The Washington Post. Vice President Joe Biden’s former economist did not predict a recession “in the near term,” he warned “it’s out there somewhere.”
“Of course, it’s too early to pull the fire alarm, but it’s not at all too soon to worry about how ready we are for the next downturn,” Bernstein said. He pointed out that unemployment was at a “50-year low,” but expressed concerns over GDP, jobs, and productivity growing at a “middling” rate. He described the record, 10-year period of economic growth as one “more long than strong.”
June 12: CNN Turns to Bears Again, Pushes CFO fears
CNN Business lead writer Matt Egan turned to a survey of CFO’s “bracing for a 2020 recession” and complaining of “waning optimism” on June 12.
“The longest economic expansion in modern American history could come to a screeching halt right before the 2020 presidential election,” Egan wrote.
Duke professor John Graham told Egan, “We’re overdue for one of those cleansing recessions.” Graham also told him CFOs were “growing more certain of a 2020 recession.”
June 13: Reuters: ‘U.S. Recession Odds Rise to 40-45% in Six Months’
Reuters reported DoubleLine Capital’s pessimistic take on the economy in mid-June. CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said, “Several indicators suggest a recession could take place in one year.”
Despite saying earlier in the year that a recession “was not on the horizon,” Gundlach now told Reuters the odds of the U.S. falling into one now had “risen to 40-45%”, and “65% within the next year.”
June 14: Bloomberg Finds Economist Who Says U.S. Already in Recession
BNN Bloomberg reported on June 14, that “prominent” Canadian economist David Rosenberg claimed the U.S. economy was already in a recession and negative GDP growth isn’t necessary for a recession. Rosenberg told Weekly with Andrew McCreath that the Federal Reserve would start cutting rates to zero beginning this summer.
“So, I would actually say that the surprise is that the recession has actually already started ahead of what GDP is doing,” Rosenberg said. He also predicted the “global economy will cave with the U.S.”
June 15: Business Insider Claims Economists Fear Trump Is ‘Causing a Recession’
Business Insider chided Trump for predicting a “massive market crash if he’s not re-elected in 2020.” Then it said “leading economists” were “warning more trade disputes” could harm the economy before then.
The headline said “economists are worried he’s causing a recession on his own.” JPMorgan’s global head of quantitative and derivatives strategy Marko Kolanovic told Business Insider, “If this recession materializes historians might call it the ‘Trump recession.’”
June 16: CNBC Finds Fears Rate Cuts Won’t Be Enough to Stop Recession
CNBC show Futures Now consulted strategist Ed Clissold of Ned Davis Research about uncertainty facing the U.S. stock market and the economy.
“It’s pretty clear the economy is slowing, but every time we get a few bad data prints, there’s a lot of focus on whether or not we’re going into a recession,” Clissold said.
He also warned, “If we start spiraling towards a recession, if we get too far gone, a couple rate cuts isn’t going to be enough to pull us out and then it could be a much rougher situation.”
June 17: Forbes Says Economy is ‘Weaker Than Perceived,’ Fears Recession
“This survey should terrify Trump,” proclaimed the Forbes headline of Forbes senior contributor Chuck Jones column about recession worries. He cited the Duke CFO survey which showed for a “third consecutive quarter” that American CFOs anticipate recession in 2020.
Using that as a jumping off point, Jones described the underlying economy as “weaker than perceived” citing March GDP data, May jobs report and the latest data on rail traffic as evidence for pessimism.
“If the economy continues on this path,” he said, “it could enter a recession when few are forecasting one with one reliable indicator foreshadowing a downturn in the next 6 to 18 months.”
June 18: Bloomberg: ‘Markets Are Acting like a Recession Is Unavoidable’
It wasn’t just Bloomberg’s headline that was dramatic on June 18. The caption under the leading photo warned, “signs of a slowdown are mounting,” and the image showed a shop window with posters: “GOING OUT of BUSINESS.”
That was all before senior editor for markets John Authers made the case that recession is on the way. He warned that bond markets seemed to be “bracing for something terrible to happen, because traders are, indeed, scared that something terrible is going to happen.”
“Looking at the U.S. stock market, we see the type of relative performance that would be expected in the run-up to a recession, even if the overall market continues to show robust performance,” he continued.
June 19: Telegraph Says Recession Could Hurt Trump’s Re-Election Bid
After acknowledging the U.S. economy has a lot to brag about right now, Telegraph business reporter Tom Rees reported that Wall Street was “warning of an economic storm brewing on the horizon.” He pointed out that the storm “could blow Trump’s re-election campaign off course.”
He cited pessimistic forecasts from Morgan Stanley, chief financial officers and Bank of America and the “dreaded” inversion of the yield curve, calling it “the market’s most trusted recession indicator.” Ultimately, Rees noted “Trump's most important weapon [good economic news] in his re-election bid could turn against the US president just when he needs it most.”
June 20: CNN Presses Bank of America CEO to Predict Recession
CNN Business lead writer Matt Egan tried to bait Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan into expressing recession worries on June 20.
“Do you see the likelihood of a recession by the end of 2020 higher than you did a year ago?” Egan asked. Moynihan said “the uncertainty around that question is more what’s causing the debate, than it is the finality that people see.”
Moynihan said he is seeing a slowdown, but anticipates a slowdown that levels off — not one that goes into recession. Yet, Egan pressed again. “So you said the economy is expected to slow down. Has the chance of a 2020 recession, in your mind, gone up?”
“Not really,” said Moynihan. He refused to predict recession saying, “We are not seeing the kind of activity that would give rise to an actual negative quarters of growth. People talk about recession, they confuse it with slowing down.”
Moynihan also told Egan, “we feel good about the economy.”
June 21: Investor Predicts ‘Mild’ 2020 Recession on CNBC
Appearing on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Zurich Insurance chief market strategist Guy Miller predicted a recession next year.
“Our view still is that we will have a mild U.S. recession in 2020,” he said. When asked for clarification, he added, “People forget that the reason interest rates are being cut, and the reason the Fed has done this uh, this pivot, is because global conditions are getting worse. And U.S. conditions, we believe, will get worse. That will impact earnings and ultimately margins as well.”
June 22: NY Times Explores Fed Case for Rate Cut
As Federal Reserve officials debated whether or not to cut interest rates, Minneapolis Fed Bank president Neel Kashkari argued that they should. The New York Times reported that Kashkari released an essay online worried that inflation was too low, and jobs and wage growth slowing.
He also expressed concern about the inverted yield curve, which the Times defined as “an unusual occurrence that reflects market pessimism about future growth and often precedes recessions.”
June 23: Forbes Frets Economy ‘May Be Less Rosy’ Soon
Forbes contributor Simon Moore conceded that much of the latest economic data had been “robust.” He reminded readers that the Federal Reserve must look ahead when deciding policy, and he worried that “the picture may be less rosy” in the near future.
His concerns included the “bad sign” of the inverted yield curve, potential impact of tariffs, and “soft” manufacturing data. Moore warned that “manufacturing in certain sectors at rocky times for the economy can all but grind to a halt” and it can result in other actions that “can cause a recession.”
June 24: CNBC: ‘Bond Market is Getting Priced for a Recession’
CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange anchor Brian Sullivan asked Fidelity Investments director Jurrien Timmer about the contradicting signals from stock and bond markets regarding a recession.
“Clearly the bond market is getting priced for a recession,” Timmer said. He said the Fed had heard the bond market “loud and clear” about rate cuts. He said he perceived the economy as reminiscent of the 1995 and 1999 business cycles. “Clearly the economy has expanded into a late-cycle mode,” Timmer said.
June 25: MSNBC’s Morning Joe Attacks Trump, Predicts Recession in ‘Next Few Years’
MSNBC’s Morning Joe predictably attacked Trump’s economic policies and ridiculed him for “carrying it [the economy] ten yards” after “the people [the Obama administration] took it 85 yards.”
Left-wing economic analyst Steve Rattner accused Trump of being “on the verge of taking the ball and throwing it into the grandstand.”
“The economy is getting very weaker as we sit here today.” He argued that the weakening was “directly attributable” to Trump’s policies including the U.S.-China trade war.
June 26: Yahoo Finds ‘40% of Americans’ Think Recession Has ‘Already Begun’
With the somewhat misleading headline “4 in 10 Americans say recession has already begun,” Yahoo Finance reported a Bankrate.com economic survey. The survey actually indicated that 40 percent of Americans fear “the next recession is already here or will start in the next 12 months.”
Yahoo reported that half of households earning below $30,000 rated the economy as “not so good.”
After breaking down those pessimistic views and saying that not everyone’s economic situation has improved, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst Greg McBridge warned against “talking ourselves into a recession.”
June 27: Yahoo Inflates Recession Anxiety For Second Straight Day
Yahoo Finance doubled down on economic pessimism, with another study forecasting a recession by 2020. This time, it referred to Suplari, an AI-powered enterprise financial insights system.
Among the surveyed Procurement and Finance professionals, a majority (55%) predicted that “the recession will take place before the end of 2020.” The study also reported that 30% of the professionals felt “unprepared to cope with a foreseeable recession,” and described companies’ preferred “coping tactics” for an economic downturn.
June 28: WashPost: Manufacturing Sentiment Falls to Level That ‘Almost Signal a Recession’
Even while acknowledging that the stock market had its “best June in decades,” The Washington Post just couldn’t resist publishing a separate article that day worrying about the economy.
Economics correspondent Heather Long wrote that there was an “overwhelming consensus” about a slowdown, but disagreement over how much it will slow. Among seven economic indicators, she said, “The data reveal a cloudy outlook but only a few signs of a nasty storm. Manufacturing is the biggest red flag.” Later, she added that manufacturing sentiment slipped to levels “almost signal[ing] a recession.”
She classified trucking as a “yellow to red flag,” and business spending as a yellow,” but admitted other indicators like jobless claims, temporary hires, bank lending and heavy truck sales were “green” lights.
June 29: Business Insider Says ‘More Warning Signs’ Flashing All the Time
Business Insider reporter Gina Heeb found more “signs” of a recession on June 29. She warned that “signs of weakness in the manufacturing sector have been mounting left and right, adding to concerns that the decade-long expansion could be running out of steam.”
“Experts are getting increasingly worried about a possible recession,” Heeb said.
June 30: WSJ Relays Recession Anxieties Even ‘As Stocks Hover Near Records’
The Wall Street Journal reported that “the decade-old bull market reclaimed record territory” for the second quarter of the year, but couldn’t prevent investor concerns about a slowing economy.
“Many are finding it increasingly difficult to discern how much longer the run can continue,” the Journal said. Mellon Wealth Management’s Jeff Mortimer suggested there was “unprecedented uncertainty in today’s world.”
But the story acknowledged “Few believe the US will slide into recession imminently.” The Journal’s recession survey found only 4.9 percent of economists anticipating a 2019 recession, “nearly half said they expected a recession in 2020,” and 37 percent forecast 2021.
July 1: Bloomberg and MarketWatch Circulate Recession Fears
Bloomberg columnist A. Gary Shilling sounded a recession alarm in March, and by the start of July anticipated the economy “may be on the cusp of a recession, if not already in one.”
“Employment is no doubt the best indicator of the recession I’ve been forecasting,” he said. Shilling claimed the deceleration of employment growth in May was proof a “business downturn may already be underway.” Little did he know the June jobs report was going to trounce expectations and July still show a respectable 164,000 jobs added.
That same day, MarketWatch personal finance editor Quentin Fottrell said Americans were “already preparing for the next economic storm.” Fottrell cited a June Bankrate.com survey that found 40 percent of Americans feared a recession within 12 months.
July 2: CNBC Says Housing Is Latest ‘Troubling’ Sign Pointing to Downturn
CNBC finance editor Jeff Cox reported that St. Louis Federal Reserve economist William Emmons viewed declining home sales as a sign of a potential recession.
According to Emmons, several metrics on housing data were “consistent with the possibility of a late 2019 or early 2020 recession.” But attempting to quell some fears, he suggested a downturn would be “less severe” than that the one that spurred the Great Recession.
July 3: Slate Declares ‘Single Most Reliable Recession Indicator’ is ‘Blaring’
Slate fueled more recession fears July 3, touting the “single most reliable recession indicator of the past 50 years.” Moneybox columnist Jordan Weissmann was, of course, citing the “unusually reliable warning sign” of the inverted yield curve.
He It declared that “it might be time to start counting down until our next recession” if observers noticed that sign from the bond market. That curve also provoked panic in March when it briefly inverted, spurring a host of media worries about recession.
July 4: Reuters Market Analyst See Global Economy ‘Heading for Trouble’
Manufacturing drove many of Reuters worries about a global and U.S. slowdown on Independence Day. Market Analyst John Kemp warned “the service sector is all that now stands between the economy and a full-blown recession.”
He noted that, so far, the services sector has been sustained by high employment and rising incomes, but that said it wasn’t clear if the sector could continue to keep economies out of recession “if manufacturing and construction continue to contract.”
July 5: Barron’s Warns ‘Recession is Coming’
Barron’s advised investors to sell two trucking stocks because “a recession is coming.”
The warning came from Loop Capital Markets analyst Jeff Kauffman, who worried about “a broader based deterioration in the level of activity across key global economies,” including the U.S. It also cited Loop Capital’s chief economist Chris Meir who predicted a “profit recession in [the second half of 2020].”
July 6: Ring of Fire Show Blames Trump, GOP for ‘Pushing Country Towards a Recession’
Left-wing Ring of Fire talk radio show also warned of a coming recession and blamed Republican policies: “We are headed right down recession lane folks,” co-host Farron Cousins complained.
He blamed the current administration for encouraging Americans to begin saving more than spending, and attacked President Donald Trump for focusing on the stock market’s new highs. “That’s not going to save us from heading into a recession because the people driving the economy are having to spend less and less,” he chided.
July 7: Financial Times: Investors ‘Buckling Up’ for Global Recession
The London-based Financial Times reported that investors were “buckling up for a global recession,” according to Absolute Strategy Research. The survey found a “45 percent chance of a global recession in the coming 12 months.”
FT said that was the “highest since the survey began in 2014,” but at least considered whether investors were being “too pessimistic” about the economy. It noted the “strong U.S. jobs report” released several days earlier.
July 8: WashPost Fears End of ‘Greatest Period’ of Restaurant Growth
Washington Post business section explored one food journalists’ thesis that America’s “belle epoque” of restaurants is now over on July 8.
“The restaurant industry is frequently the precursor for a market correction, an early harbinger of a bear market or even a recession to come,” wrote Laura Reiley. She said experts viewed many factors affecting restaurants including rising labor costs and weak sales could mean a “bleak” future for the industry.
Food journalist Kevin Alexander told the Post a shakeup was coming because “there are too many restaurants” and said the next recession would remove the ones “who aren’t serious.”
July 9: NY Times, Business Insider Sound Recession Alarms
The New York Times worried that the Federal Reserve and other central banks could be unable to “prevent the next downturn.” It reported that “global recession risks are up” and the global economy “shows signs of strain.”
Even while admitting that “a recession is far from inevitable,” the Times fretted that central banks lacked “the capacity for the type of decisive response” they’ve had in the past.
The same day, Business Insider worried about possible “tough times ahead” as it worried about “a critical recession indicator” from the New York Federal Reserve which had moved higher.
July 10: CNBC’s Sara Eisen Asks If Fed Is Looking at Recession Risks
In a conversation about anticipated Federal Reserve rate cuts, correspondent Sara Eisen asked senior economics reporter Steve Liesman if the Fed was “emphasizing” risks to the economy (such as recession), or risks to inflation as “an excuse to cut rates.”
Liesman said he thought the Fed did not have a “base case of recession” and that it was not their “primary risk.” “Their base case is for continued growth,” Liesman continued.
July 11: Fortune Lists ‘Recession Warning Signals That Have Already Gone Off’
Fortune Magazine minimized the U.S.’s record-long economic expansion by emphasizing a list of “recession warning signals that have already gone off.”
They listed the New York Fed’s recession probability index, the inverted yield curve, a decline in business and consumer confidence (even though it’s still “historically high”), and a slowdown in U.S. manufacturing.
July 12: WSJ Sees ‘Skittish’ Investors Avoiding Junk Bonds
The Wall Street Journal said investors were avoiding the junk bond market “as anxiety over an economic downturn creeps higher.”
Reporter Daniel Kruger wrote that the “U.S. government market has begun to send signals that the economy could be heading for a recession.”
Kruger also noted that Fed Chairman Powell “sent a strong signal” two days earlier for a potential rate cut after expressing concerns over global growth and trade uncertainties.
July 13: Forbes Warns of ‘Storm Clouds,’ Cites ‘Reliable Recession Indicator’
As a plethora of other outlets had already, Forbes contributor Michael Foster fretted that “storm clouds are indeed building” about the economy. He told investors there was a “single signal that would warn you when a recession is on the horizon.” Of course, that “reliable recession indicator” was the yield curve inversion.
Although he told investors not to panic and how to get “greedy,” in a downturn, he strongly argued the inverted curve suggested a recession was on the way.
“So does this mean a recession is coming? Perhaps. While no one knows the future, this indicator does, in fact, say a recession is on the way. And if we follow its signal over history, that recession could start at the end of 2020 or the start of 2021,” he added.
July 14: Shue Frets Tariffs Could ‘Induce a Recession’ on CNBC
CNBC.com published an article July 14, about an earlier segment of CNBC’s Futures Now. In it, Wilmington Trust senior investment strategist Meghan Shue said they thought if more tariffs were imposed on Chinese imports it “would be enough to stop the market in its tracks and maybe even induce a recession here in the U.S.”
She also expressed concerns that Wall Street was overestimating the Fed’s ability to preserve the market’s growth with a rate cut later in the month.
July 15: International Business Times Boosts Krugman’s Recession Worries
The International Business Times also feared that “one of the most accurate recession indicators,” the inverted yield curve, was “flashing warning signs” and that could mean recession. It also boosted left-wing economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.
“Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman suggests that the current yield curve inversion is actually much more dangerous than in the past because interest rates are depressed and stuck at historically low levels across the globe,” IBT wrote.
Krugman tweeted months earlier that “as far as [he] can tell,” every post-war recession in the U.S. was preceded by an inversion. However, not every inversion has been followed by a recession, as Forbes pointed out.
July 16: CNBC: ‘Recession Fears Rise for Middle-Class Families’
“The average family doesn’t feel as good today as yesterday,” wrote CNBC personal finance writer Jessica Dickler. She cited a report from the insurance provider CUNA Mutual Group, in which a majority of those polled graded their chances of achieving the American Dream as a “C.”
Why? CNBC said close to half “were increasingly concerned about a coming recession.” CUNA Mutual’s chief economist Steven Rick said “people’s expectations are that we are due” for a recession.
Could the media’s recession obsession be part of the reason people are becoming more pessimistic?
July 17: CNBC Cites Scary Prediction of Zero Interest Rates
CNBC reported on an earlier Financial Times interview with hedge fund manager Kyle Bass and his scary prediction U.S. interest rates would fall to zero in 2020 as “the country’s economy heads for recession.” Bass was betting on a recession by mid-2020.
July 18: Forbes Upbeat About Housing But Aware of Recession ‘Jitters’
Forbes found that the housing market has been “robust,” and very good for the economy in recent years. But senior contributor Brenda Richardson was still aware of the “recession jitters,” that kept being reported.
Digging into a report on housing specifically, she wondered what it had to say about a possible recession. That report from CoreLogic showed plenty of good news on housing, but stated “concerns over an imminent recession have been rising” and that home prices are still increasing, but at a slower pace.
July 19: Baltimore Sun Runs Op-Ed Blaming Trump for Coming Recession
The Baltimore Sun published a professor’s claim that “all is not well, and there are ominous signs that point to a recession within the next year.”
Morgan State professor of management Robert Singh claimed that President Donald Trump “came into office with a booming stock market, significant job creation and solid GDP growth. On all of these economic indicators, it appears we are now headed in the wrong direction.” He also criticized Trump’s tax cuts and trade policies.
July 20: MSNBC Discusses Politics of U.S. Economy and Recession
On MSNBC Live, NBC News correspondent Jo Ling Kent consulted Democratic strategist Stacy Kerr and Republican Women for Progress board member Ashley Craft to discuss about the economy’s role in the 2020 presidential election.
“Every incumbent president since FDR who has avoided a recession in the lead-up to an election year has been re-elected,” Kent said. She asked Kerr “how big of a hurdle” that would be for Democrats running against Trump.
Kerr dodged by saying the election wasn’t “all about the economy,” saying Trump was not focusing entirely on that issue. The unstated implication was that the economy wasn’t doing that well.
She argued a candidate wouldn’t win in 2020 with “one single issue,” but that Democrats were pursuing policies like minimum wage increases that would impact swing voters. She didn’t admit the negative, unintended consequences of minimum wage increases on the economy and lower-income workers.
July 21: MarketWatch Suggests Lower Wage Growth Rooted in Recession Fear
Despite the economy adding 224,000 new jobs in June, MarketWatch personal finance reporter Jacob Passy claimed the real story was “stubbornly low” wage growth.
Passy referred to group vice president of the HR Practice at Gartner Brian Kropp to explain the trend of flattening organizations by getting rid of middle manager level jobs. Many companies did just that during the Great Recession, according to MarketWatch. Explaining why it is still happening in some companies, Kropp said chief financial officers “still have a hangover from 2008.”
“They’re worried if they increase the wage rate, then a recession is going to come and bad things will happen,” Kropp said.
July 22: Morgan Stanley Offers ‘Credible Bear Case’ for Recession on CNBC
CNBC finance editor Jeff Cox again reported Morgan Stanley’s bearish economic outlook on July 22. The firm said the “credible bear case” probability was around 20 percent.
“For now, the path to the bear case of a U.S. recession is still narrow, but not unrealistic,”Morgan Stanley chief economist Ellen Zentner said. She said that currently, the measures are “just outside the danger zone,” but can “deteriorate quickly.”
July 23: Vice Says Sen. Warren Needs To ‘Hype’ Economic Fears
Vice senior editor Harry Cheadle reacted to Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s dire warnings about the economy by arguing she needs to “hype up” economic fears to win.
He admitted the economy is “strong by most conventional metrics” right now, but said the “threat” of recession was lurking. Then he gave Warren advice saying she “needs to create a sense of urgency, even despair” to “shatter Trump’s message that the economy is humming along.”
“If a recession comes as she’s warning, it’ll be bad for the country. But it might be very good for Warren,” he wrote.
July 24: Morningstar: ‘Are Bond Yields Signalling Recession?’
Morningstar financial journalist Cherry Reynard wrote that bond markets often “reflect a gloomier outlook” on the economy than equity markets do, and lately “that gloom has appeared even more entrenched.” She said the yield curve’s inversion was giving investors pause.
Reynard pointed out that inversions are often seen as a “harbinger of recession,” but argued there were problems with using them to predict the downturn and especially the timing of a recession.
July 25: Yahoo: ‘Next Recession is Likely to Happen in 2020’
“The longest uninterrupted economic expansion in U.S. history will probably end with a recession in 2020,” predicted Yahoo Finance. It referred to the Q2 2019 Zillow Home Price Expectations survey, which asked “a panel of more than 100 experts” for their views on when the next economic downturn would occur.
Among the polled panelists, Yahoo reported that “exactly half (50%) said they expected the next recession to begin at some point in 2020.” Another 35% predicted that the current expansion would “end in 2021.”
The panelists were also asked what factors would most likely cause the downturn. They respectively cited “trade policy, a geopolitical crisis, and a stock market correction.”
July 26: USA Today: ‘Solid’ Economy, But ‘Recession Fears Continue to Hover’
According to USA Today, the economy grew more slowly in the second quarter as “recession fears continue to hover.”
Reporter Paul Davidson still described GDP growth as “solid,” but warned that it was slower due to “mounting worries” that the trade war with China “could lead to a recession by next year.” He cited additional economists and surveys anticipating Fed rate cuts and a 2020 recession.
July 27: Associated Press Reports Slower Growth, Finds Zandi Pessimistic
Associated Press reported the lower second quarter economic growth on July 27. Although there was “sizzling” consumer spending, other areas were weaker and AP said “most analysts think the U.S. economy could slow through the rest of the year.”
The article concluded with economist Mark Zandi’s pessimism. Zandi predicted 2.5 percent annual growth in 2019, but only 1.7 percent growth in 2020 and warned that recession risks are “high” going forward.
July 28: NY Times Searches for Signs of When ‘A Recession is Coming’
Economists are “notoriously terrible” at forecasting recessions, something New York Times economics reporter Ben Casselman acknowledged in his article “A Recession Is Coming (Eventually).”
But it didn’t stop Casselman from looking for signals about when one might arrive by examining unemployment, the yield curve, the ISM manufacturing index, consumer sentiment and other data. He found jobs signalling “all clear,” but the others indicating “partly cloudy” to “storm warning.”
July 29: Business Times Anticipates Imminent Fed Rate Cut to ‘Confirm’ Recession
Business Times senior reporter Artie Villasanta predicted the Fed would cut rates later in the week, as “the strongest signal yet” of the U.S. economic expansion “running out of steam.” He singled out the U.S.-China trade war as a “major cause” of economic deceleration and an imminent recession. In addition, he lamented how the anticipated rate cut would be an “unmistakable sign” of the economic expansion ending soon.
“Major U.S. banks such as Morgan Stanley see a recession by 2020 if the trade war remains unsolved,” Villasanta said. He fretted over Morgan Stanley’s prediction that any rate cut by the Fed “won’t save the U.S. economy from a recession over the next year.”
July 30: WashPost Runs Jared Bernstein’s Recession Questions
Liberal economist Jared Bernstein asked rhetorically, “When’s the next recession coming?” in his Washington Post column, “Recessions and confessions” July 30.
In it, Vice President Joe Biden’s former economist admitted no one can answer the question “with confidence,” but called it a “good time to collect what we know about economic downturns.” He told readers there were “some reasons to stay calm” and “some reasons not to.”
July 31: USA Today Calls Fed Rate Cut Immunization Against Risk
The Federal Reserve’s quarter point rate cut on July 31, dominated economic coverage. USA Today described it as a “rare immunization shot” designed to extend the period of economic growth which “faces mounting risks.”
“Despite a generally healthy economy, the Fed cut its key short-term interest rate for the first time in more than a decade in a bid to head off a possible recession spurred by global troubles and trade tensions,” reported Paul Davidson.