Not If But When - Fed's Recession Risk Indicator Highest In 40 Years
By Michael Snyder/Economic Collapse BlogMay 16, 2023
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If they are actually telling us that a recession is coming this time around, how bad is it going to be? In 2008, officials kept assuring us over and over again that there wouldn't be a recession, and then we plunged into the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
But here in 2023, what is coming is so obvious that nobody can deny what is happening.
The economy is already starting to come apart at the seams all around us, and the "experts" at the Federal Reserve openly acknowledge that they are making things even worse by hiking interest rates.
Pretty much everyone agrees that rougher times are ahead of us, and "a probability model from the New York Federal Reserve" is now projecting that there is a 68.2 percent chance that there will be a recession within the next 12 months...
The odds that the United States will fall into a recession at some point over the next 12 months have risen to a 40-year high, according to a probability model from the New York Federal Reserve.
The probability that the country will enter a recession within the next year has risen to 68.2 percent, according to the New York Fed, which is the highest level since 1982.
The Fed's recession risk indicator is now greater than it was in November 2007, not long before the subprime crisis, when it stood at 40 percent.
This is the highest that figure has been in more than 40 years.
Just think about that for a moment.
The recession of the early 1980s was a real whopper, and if you were alive at that time you probably still have very painful memories of it.
Are we about to experience something similar?
Larry Summers says that he also believes that we probably have about a 70 percent chance of a recession within the next 12 months...
Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has also expressed his view that the odds of a downturn are "probably about 70 percent."
"The chance that a recession will have begun this year in the U.S. over the next 12 months is probably about 70 percent," Summers said in a recent interview with Foreign Policy. "As I put together the lags associated with monetary policy, the credit crunch risks, the need for continuing action around inflation, the risk of geopolitical or other shocks affecting commodities, 70 percent would be the range that I would be in."
So many pundits are very negative about the next 12 months, but we certainly don't have to wait for bad economic news, because it is happening all around us right now.
In fact, the New York Fed's Empire State business conditions index just fell more than 42 points in a single month...
After an unexpected surge into growth territory in April, the New York Fed's Empire State business conditions index plunged 42.6 points in May to minus 31.8.
Economists had forecast a milder slump to negative two.
Readings below zero indicate worsening conditions. The May decline is the sharpest on record apart from the initial lockdown months of the pandemic.
Read that last sentence again.
Not even when nearly the entire country was locked down did we see a drop of this magnitude.
And this comes at a time when consumers, small businesses, and large businesses are all struggling.
On Monday, we learned that total consumer debt in the U.S. has just reached a brand new all-time record high...
Total consumer debt hit a fresh new high in the first quarter of 2023, pushing past $17 trillion even amid a sharp pullback in home borrowing.
The total for borrowing across all categories hit $17.05 trillion, an increase of nearly $150 billion, or 0.9% during the January-to-March period, the New York Federal Reserve reported Monday. That took total indebtedness up about $2.9 trillion from the pre-Covid period ended in 2019.
Of course interest rates are moving higher at the same time.
If you can believe it, the average rate of interest on credit card balances is now over 20 percent...
The rise in credit card usage and debt is particularly concerning because interest rates are astronomically high right now. The average credit card annual percentage rate, or APR, hit a new record of 20.33% last week, according to a Bankrate database that goes back to 1985.
Carrying credit card balances in this environment is financial suicide, but many Americans find themselves forced to charge food and other basic supplies these days because they don't have any other options.
Millions upon millions of people are barely scraping by from month to month, and delinquency rates just continue to move higher...
Delinquency rates for all debt increased, up 0.6 percentage point for credit cards to 6.5% and 0.2 percentage point for auto loans to 6.9%. Total delinquency rates moved up 0.2 percentage point to 3%, the highest since the third quarter of 2020.
Meanwhile, here in the early stages of 2023 small businesses are "filing for bankruptcy at a record pace"...
Small businesses throughout the United States are currently filing for bankruptcy at a record pace, exceeding the levels observed in 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a UBS Evidence Lab note reviewed by The Epoch Times, the four-week moving average for private filings was 73 percent higher than it was in June 2020. They also warned the situation may worsen as the repercussions of the recent banking crises start to manifest.
"We believe one of the more underappreciated signs of distress in U.S. corporate credit is already emanating from the small- and mid-size enterprises sector," Matthew Mish, head of credit strategy at UBS, wrote in the recently published research memo. "The smallest of firms are facing the most severe pressure from rising rates, persistent inflation and slowing growth."
Things weren't even this bad during the extended lockdowns during the early stages of the COVID pandemic.
And many more small businesses will inevitably fail in the weeks and months to come.
Large businesses are faring relatively better, but right now we are witnessing "the most prolonged corporate profits downturn in seven years"...
As the US economy teeters on the brink of recession, Wall Street is already enduring what could turn out to be the most prolonged corporate profits downturn in seven years.
With the first-quarter earnings season drawing to a close, the profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have dropped 3.7% on average, compared to a year ago.
And as I have detailed extensively in previous articles, large companies all over the U.S. have already started conducting mass layoffs.
Needless to say, they aren't letting people go because they think the economy is about to turn around.
They can see what is coming, and they are trying to get ready in advance.
Before I end this article, let me give you one more very troubling sign.
In April, the federal government brought in 26.1 percent less tax revenue than it did in April 2022...
The Treasury took in $638.52 billion in April. That was more than double the receipts in March. This is to be expected as the government collects a large amount of tax revenue in April. But compared to April 2022, tax receipts were down 26.1%.
This is one number that the federal government cannot doctor, and it is absolutely horrible.
We really are heading into an economic nightmare, and of course the economy is just one element of the "perfect storm" that we are now facing.
So what should you do?
I would encourage you to do whatever you need to do in order to get prepared for very rough times.
Our system is in the process of melting down, and the government is not going to come riding to your rescue when everything finally hits the fan.