Is a recession coming and, if so, when will it begin and how prolonged will it be? These are weighty questions with no definitive answers, but some indicators may help provide clues.
The U.S. economy has been in a period of expansion. Stock market growth, declining underemployment and loan delinquencies helped keep Americans’ personal financial satisfaction near its all-time high during the second quarter of 2019, according to the AICPA’s Personal Financial Satisfaction Index (PFSi), released in late July. The PFSi measured 37.8 for the second quarter, 0.8 points (2.1%) below the first quarter’s record high. It was 8.4 points (28.8%) higher year over year.
In the most recent Business & Industry Economic Outlook Survey conducted by the AICPA, U.S. business leaders remained significantly more confident about the domestic economy than the global economy.
The survey’s CPA Outlook Index (CPAOI) dipped one point to 75 out of 100, reflecting slight easing in expansion, revenue, and profit expectations. The index peaked at 81 in the first quarter of 2018.
Against this backdrop, some historical data is helpful. This interactive graphic from Reuters breaks down eight indicators that may be useful in discerning where the economy is heading.