Longest Expansion in History? Excuse Me, Not So Fast

-edited

Hooray! Numerous headlines on Monday proclaimed the US is set for the longest expansion in history. How do they know?

Record Tie?

Another Record?

121 Months?

Longest Ever?

First Decade With No Recession?

STOP!

I could go on. There are lots more where those came from.

The NBER is the official arbiter of recessions. It is possible one has already started.

Is so, we may not know for a full year. There are plenty of signs.

Hold Your Horses

  1. The last recession started in December of 2007.
  2. At the time, there were zero quarters of negative growth.
  3. The NBER did not set the recession date for a full year.

It may be likely (or not), but it is by no means certain we just set a record expansion. Some of those Tweeters ought to know better.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (23)
No. 1-8
magoomba
magoomba

With the entire world economy mired in an ever deepening inflationary depression, how could anyone tell if a recession has started?

KidHorn
KidHorn

The present expansion is very weak in all ways outside of duration. It's pathetic compared to past expansions,

lol
lol

The only expansion is massive currency creation and govt,longest money printing driven "expansion",subtract the $150 plus trillion central banks have printed over the decade to buy /prop up everything (literally)and buy time.And they're just warmin up,QE4/NIRP drops this summer and it's gonna be epic!!!!

Tengen
Tengen

Annual $1.2T deficits are enough to create a semi-convincing Potemkin village, which is essentially what our economy has become. Ignore the stock buybacks, household debt, crooked BLS stats, and more to maintain the illusion.

Also, as everyone else mentions, if things are so great why is everyone screaming for rate cuts? A mere 2.25% is more than we can handle?

Ted R
Ted R

It really depends on how you calculate the 'real' rate of inflation. By my calculations inflation is at least 10% annually so make a few fast adjustments and you have a negative growth(GNP) rate. The economy is really contracting. I have said it on this blog many times and I will say it once more. DEFLATION. The economy is in a deflation cycle and it will be for years to come. Look at commodity prices for your answer about the economy.

Carl_R
Carl_R

Mish is correct. Since declaring a recession requires several quarters of data, they are always declared in retrospect. So, if a recession were to declared today to have started, the start date would be a few quarters ago. That said, I don't think the data at this point is weak enough that even a year form now it will be seen to be as in recession, so the 120 months is probably safe.

When you factor in the length and the magnitude of the expansion, this expansion is not extraordinary. The largest total expansion was the 1961-69 expansion, which was over 50%, followed by the 91-00 expansion at over 40%. Behind those are the 82-90 expansion and the 49-53 expansion.

stillCJ
stillCJ

Editor

I love seeing all the opinions of the Downers. When everyone gets bullish, I'll probably get out of stocks.

HubbaBuba2
HubbaBuba2

There's a big difference between the current and prior longest economic expansions. The prior record had a budget SURPLUS. The most recent expansion blows up the deficit a whopping $1 TRILLION every 15 months (and growing faster). Even with absurdly low rates interest alone on the Federal Deficit will be more than ALL Defense spending. Ergo it would be free sans Federal Debt. God forbid rates rise. Trumps concern about the deficit blowing up? "I'll be gone [by the time Gov finances explode w/in 10 yrs]".