So You Think We’re in a Recession Right Now? (Part VI)

Weekly data and Google/big data through July 16th, on the US economy (follow up on Part IPart IIPart III, Part IV, Part V, as well as “So you think we might be in recession as of mid-June”, Part I and Part II).

Source: NY Fed via FRED.

Source: OECD.

Discussion of Lewis-Mertens-Stock WEI here and OECD Weekly Tracker here.

And here is Baumeister et al. Weekly Economic Conditions Index through June 25th.

Source: Baumeister et al. WECI.

And here is a snapshot of some key business cycle indicators that the NBER’s BCDC looks at:

Figure 1: Nonfarm payroll employment (dark blue), industrial production (red), personal income excluding transfers in Ch.2012$ (green), manufacturing and trade sales in Ch.2012$ (black), consumption in Ch.2012$ (light blue), and monthly GDP in Ch.2012$ (pink), all log normalized to 2021M06=0. Source: BLS, Federal Reserve, BEA, via FRED, IHS Markit (nee Macroeconomic Advisers) (7/1/2022 release), NBER, and author’s calculations.


Update, 1:40pm Pacific:

CEA has just released a blog post on how the NBER determines recession dates. Here’s a key graph:

Source: CEA (2022).

39 thoughts on “So You Think We’re in a Recession Right Now? (Part VI)

  1. Moses Herzog

    Powell is a Republican. Anyone with a functioning brain knows that.

    Let’s say recession happens in 2023. It doesn’t HAVE TO. Either way it’s a period of pain that Republican politicians can point to, to gain seats. It’s typical Pelosi strategy. Something very good falls into your lap and then Hank Paulson strokes your ego for 3-4 minutes and you hand Republicans a free gift on their watch. Now it’s Democrats watch. And Democrats can’t wait to yank rates .75 a chunk and then later in 2023 Democrats scratch their heads how they got talked into losing their last quarter under the carnival tent to watch the naked girl: “Gee, isn’t this what Republicans TOLD us to do??~~what went wrong?!?!?! I already paid my last quarter to see the naked girl, now they want another quarter or no show??”

    1. Gregory Bott

      A recession has already happened. I think Friedman called it a microrecession. The mid-90’s was the classic case of this. Initial Claims surged from 330 to 390. GDP was pretty bad the first half of 1995 fwiw. The middle of 2016 was a weaker version of this. 1998 and 2019 were really weak versions. I am still waiting for unemployment to tick up like 1995 or 1985(another microrecession).

      Inflation is likely toast. Government bean counters are gonna lag. But when they catch up, woo boy, we gonna have some yry deceleration probably to -cpi by next june. The Fed should put rates at a certain spot and announce they are stopping while this gives them a golden chance to completely pre-financial crisis their balance sheet. Especially since they don’t control mortgage lending these days like they did in 2007.

    2. Barkley Rosser


      I have no idea if or when an officially recognized NBER recession will start (lr already has), although it it does, it probably will largely be brought on by a tight Fed policy under Powell. But I am afraid I have to ask, what on earth does Nancy Pelosi have to do with either Powell or Fed policy? You seem to have gone off the rails again with your intense hatred of her.

      1. Willie

        I don’t think we are either in a recession or likely to have a recession. Slowdown in growth, but I don’t see people out of work like is usual in a recession and the leadup to a recession. There are signs that things are not so great. Microsoft isn’t hiring as much. Amazon isn’t hiring as much. Housing construction is finally catching up with demand somewhat. Petroleum prices are on their way back down even though we haven’t had a big drilling boom so far as I know. All that tells me is that inflation is going to moderate. Fed policy may kick off a recession if they aren’t careful, but I don’t see that as nearly as likely as a slowdown in growth. There will be pockets of local pain though, as there were in 2016. What baffles me is where those pockets of pain may be. I would expect manufacturing to do fairly well, since demand exists and the problems in manufacturing have been supply chain issues that are slowly being overcome so far as I know.

  2. Steven Kopits

    I never thought Powell up to the job. Clearly, based on the results, I still don’t.

    I’d add that IUCs continue to rise, consistent with a recession beginning the week of March 19th.

    1. Macroduck

      So, when Professor Frankel presented a lucid explanation of why it’s too early to think the U.S. recession, Stevie trotted out old, off-topic, breathless stuff about China as a distraction. Didn’t have the spine to challenge Frankel’s excellent article.

      Now that Frankel’s is not the article in question, Stevie comes out of hiding. Not sure why Stevie thinks he can challenge one highly accomplished economist but not another. In any case, Stevie thinking he has picked a single data which recession began (sic) is just another sign he’s engaged in a consultant mating display, not economics.

      1. Gregory Bott

        Kopits is like most globalists in self denial. He loves globalist crony capitalism because he knows the free market is a debt based illusion. A real “leftist” would love for dollar empire to collapse. Not only would it force nationalization of capital markets, it would destroy fossil fuel pollution globally. For the “traditional” leftist, it would also give them go ahead for global depopulation and my guess elites in China, India and Africa would agree when food production collapses

        Tell me those boys in Alabama, when the state bonds are blowing out and the state government collapses, taking the university down, meaning the football team goes into suspension………..wouldn’t come on board. The neoliberals nope, but they ain’t the majority. Abortion may not seem so big when you starving to death………

        This is a big ponzi scheme, built by the industrial revolution. Kopits knows it.

      2. pgl

        Please do not encourage this worthless troll to bloviate on macroeconomics as we know he sucks at it.

    2. Moses Herzog

      @ Steven “MikeLindellStoleMyPillowTechnologyFromMe” Kopits
      That’s impossible. I just called the Peter Navarro & Stephen Moore Cash Down First Bleach Beverage for Monkey Pox Hotline and they said the recession started in late January 2021. Your facts are total BS and liberal propaganda.

    3. pgl

      I guess you would prefer Judy Shelton – perhaps because her knowledge of macroeconomics is almost as weak as yours.


    My guess:
    1.GDP is sharply revised upwards in 2020 and modestly in 2021. We find out the economy was growing 1% above potential. That 1% has to be worked off. The pandemic really messed up with data. We also see employers at the rate of speed gdp grew, could not keep up with demand.

  4. Econned

    Google trend data suggests interest in the term “recession” is at an all time (since 2004) high. Of course this doesn’t mean any particular committee will deem this time frame, or any adjacent time frame, to be a recession. However, this may be more suggestive of what Americans are actually experiencing or are feeling (although maybe it’s not suggestive of anything other than what it is – a search trend). These are aspects that government data isn’t very good at capturing. And are these aspects something that might be more meaningful to the typical American than whether the nation is in a “recession” as defined by a committee?

    Also, what would strippers say?:

    1. Gregory Bott

      Yeah, but if they already collapsed with covid, never recovered, how do they know what a recession is???? Inflation and goods shortages are toast. There are way too many goods right now. Its piled up the size of K2. Government inflation figures are ALWAYS lagging.

      1. Econned

        Gregory Bott,
        I’m not clear about your first sentence… “they”? As in the people searching for the term on Google?

    2. baffling

      is there a breakdown on whether those searching for recession are democrats or republicans? maybe you can see that in the red and blue state geography?

      if we are an economics blog, we should be more worried about the committee definition of recession than the popular culture definition?

      1. Econned


        To the 1st, trends can be accessed by geographical location and I think that’s as close as you can get with the data available to the public.

        To the 2nd, what if the Econ blog is on planet Earth? Which should we care about then? One committee’s definition or the public’s experience? I suppose it depends on the relevance?

        1. baffling

          if the Econ blog is meant to discuss economics, then it should stick with definitions consistent with the field of economics. ever listen to a sports talk radio show on Monday morning during football season? ever wonder why professional coaches do not participate? professionals and pop culture use two different languages. it is not productive.

          1. Econned

            Of course but “recession” is only an attempt by economists to quantify a period between the peak and trough of economic activity. As Menzie has pointed out, there is no definition per the designation for the US as accepted by the profession. My point is that a (non-)definition doesn’t necessarily doesn’t capture the actual issue.

            More importantly, “economics” is about the allocation of scarce resources – something a label cannot fully capture.

            Moreover, this “Econ blog” discusses non-Econ topics all the time.

          2. Moses Herzog

            “….. doesn’t necessarily doesn’t capture….. ”

            Dear Lord God, I once prayed to you not to let my English students in China study W. Bush’s presidential speeches in order to “improve” their English under the orders of their Chinese English teachers. Now Dear Lord God, I am calling on your help again. If my Chinese students who studied English under me have forgotten some of the things I tried to teach them, please do not let them to encounter “Econned’s” writings on the internet.

            Thank you Dear Lord, Thank you.

          3. Econned

            Moses’s Herzog,

            Dear Buddha, I once prayed to you make sure Moses Herzog F*cks off.
            Internet grammar nazis are the worst and especially in the world of smartphones. Moses doesn’t contribute to the discussion at hand so their desire to comment results in these such “contributions”.

          4. Moses Herzog

            *ignorance verified.

            : )

            Most of MY Chinese mainland students spoke/wrote English better than “Econned”. That’s an “accomplishment” in a non-native English speaking country. My Chaoyang GF did all of that and was a high level in spite of her idiot boyfriend. My students?? Some of it was me but most of their own doing./ I really can’t explain the problem that happened between “Econned” and his parents/teachers. It is kind of interesting to imagine though,

          5. Econned

            Moses Herzog,
            The funny thing is your writing is among the most incoherent on this blog. Do you teach unnecessary use of quotations? Unnecessary use of boldface type? Ending sentences with commas? Please continue to teach us all the improper use of arbitrary rules while communicating on a blog.

    3. pgl

      “Strip club employees who talked to ABC7 News and dancers in the business say the expected post-pandemic recovery never materialized. Some strippers are predicting a recession, with many citing empty strip clubs and poor bookings as indicators of stormy economic times ahead. “I can speak for our dancers who work for multiple agencies and in the strip clubs because they have to get enough work and they’re still not making enough money,” says Asshley, (her stage name was requested to be used to protect her family) a dancer for 10 years and co-owner of SinCal Party Entertainment, an agency that dispatches strippers to events such as bachelor and bachelorette parties.”

      Come on dude – loosen your wallet and get out there and party with these girls. After all – they are not picky if you bring enough cash.

      1. baffling

        considering many people still think about social distancing, I would think the stripper profession would not be a very good proxy for understanding current economic forces.

        1. pgl

          Heck – I have not go out to eat since the pandemic. Risking all sorts of diseases from a brothel – we let Econned have his day doing that.

        2. Econned

          One may think so but, according to the article, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe your understanding of what’s written in the article differs – or do you not believe the quote that directly references the pandemic and strippers?

  5. ltr

    July 19, 2022

    Traditional agricultural heritage offers insight into sustainable development

    HANGZHOU — On a sunny summer day, the green rice paddies in Longxian Village of Qingtian County, east China’s Zhejiang Province, saw guests from all over the world who attended the World Conference on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems.

    The conference was held in the mountainous county from Sunday to Tuesday, with participants from home and aboard sharing experience in the protection and utilization of agricultural heritage and gaining a deeper understanding of how Qingtian has tapped the value of traditional agriculture.

    The initiative “Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)” was launched in 2002 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), aiming to establish a global program for the conservation of agricultural heritage and their associated biodiversity, knowledge systems and cultures.

    The rice-fish co-culture system in Qingtian has a history of more than 1,300 years and was listed in the world’s first group of GIAHS designated by the FAO in 2005. Longxian was recognized as the core protection area of the rice-fish co-culture system.

    Qingtian, in the southwestern part of Zhejiang, has sufficient water resources and a terraced landscape. The rice-fish co-culture system can bring handsome incomes to local farmers.

    Over the past few years, the system has reduced the dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, increased biodiversity and ensured the ecological balance of farmland. With this system, people can harvest rice and fish at the same time and achieve sustainable development.

    “I grew up watching my parents farm and raise fish in paddy fields,” said 50-year-old villager Wu Yongqiang. “In our village, everyone knows how to practice it.”

    After working outside his hometown for 20 years, he returned to Longxian and opened a bed-and-breakfast. Now he also has 4 hectares of rice fields with fish, and he sold about 5,000 kg of fish last year.

    In 2021, the rice-fish co-culture system in Qingtian covered around 3,700 hectares of paddy fields, with an average rice yield of 7.2 tonnes per hectare. The total output value of rice and fish reached 265 million yuan (about 39.3 million U.S. dollars).

    China boasts a long history of agricultural civilization and Chinese farmers are full of agricultural wisdom. Up to now, China has 18 GIAHS and has become a major contributor to globally important agricultural heritage….

  6. Macroduck

    From today’s data dump –

    As of May, layoffs were just above the two-decade low of April:,JTS1000LDR,#0

    There are increasing reports of layoffs since May, and jobless claims are rising a bit from an extreme low, so JOLTS data are likely to deteriorate in coming releases, but there is good evidence the labor market remains tight.

    Challenger layoff announcement data also show a rise from a very low rate of job cuts. Nothing recessionary, of course, but more evidence the labor market is less hot than in Q1, when Stevie’s imaginary recession started.

    ISM services hiring index dipped below 50 again, while the headline index continued to show growth (which is to say, not recession) at 55.3 and new orders at 55.6.

    With households feeling a pinch from energy costs and (for some) higher mortgage rates, employment gains are needed to keep households demand rising. Can’t help but thing Mian, Sufi and Verner have this cycle pegged:

    Households lead. Demand pulled forward reduces future demand. One way around that (says I, not them) may be new households formation, which can be constrained by slow job growth. Which makes a recession next year a risk.

  7. Moses Herzog

    Professor Chinn, you need to get your bull whip out and tell the CEA that they need an RSS feed, so gabby do-nothings like me can spread the CEA gospel.

  8. macroduck

    The same site which hosts Baumeister, et. al. also hosts an economic weakness index, which I assume is also the work of Baumeister, et. al. since it is based on their data. How weak is the economy? Not weak at all:

    Nor was the economy weak in March, oddly enough. Forecasts based on state data suggest future weakening. Don’t know whether any of that is built into the system as reversion to the mean, but it matches my (and lots of other non-partisan people’s) expectations.

  9. Not Trampis

    Can someone please explain how a country is both in recession and at full employment.

    1. Macroduck

      Well, you see, vehicle miles traveled…wait, no…

      OK, consume confidence is the NBER’s,…not that, either…

      A specific but entirely abitrary date in March divided by Russia’s oil exports to China, raised of the power of polling data…maybe?

      Sorry, I can’t remember how the story goes.

  10. joseph

    “Can someone please explain how a country is both in recession and at full employment.”

    Well, technically not at full employment because still adding new jobs at a rapid rate!

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