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Gauging US Recession Risk

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ECONOMIC TRENDS COMMENTARY Gauging U.S. Recession Risk Amy Crews Cutts SVP-Chief Economist Gunnar Blix Deputy Chief Economist AUGUST 2017 We are frequently asked when the U.S. might enter into a recession. In fact, we spent a good bit of time recently considering how we could tell whether a recession might be imminent, something more than a gut feeling that it must be time for one. Though turning points are hard to know with any confidence, in this study we will walk through some of the concerns surrounding the timing of recessions, and what Equifax Credit Trends data might tell us about whether current conditions warrant worry. Up and Down Cycles Recessions — or, more broadly, business cycles — seem to occur on a somewhat regular cycle. Except that they don't. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is responsible for determining the start and end dates of U.S. recessions. NBER 1 has recognized that since 1854 there have been 33 recessions, with an average length of 17.5 months of contraction. The average expansion (the period between the end of one recession and the start of the next) has been 38.7 months, 1 This report has hyperlinks to cited data and studies for easy reference. The NBER recession data are available at http://www.nber.org/cycles/cyclesmain.html (accessed June 13, 2017)

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