Corporate economists say recession odds are greater than 50-50

ByAlicia Wallace, CNNWire
Monday, October 24, 2022
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Almost two-thirds of corporate economists believe the United States is already in a recession or will be within the next 12 months, according to the latest survey from the National Association for Business Economics.

More than half the NABE respondents said they believed there was a more-than-even likelihood of America experiencing a recession within the next year, with 11% saying they believed the nation was already in one, according to the third-quarter conditions survey released Monday.

The survey, which included responses from 55 members polled in early October, indicated that the economy is slowing and negative risks are growing - notably from rising interest rates, which were cited as the largest downside risk for companies.

The survey also showed that sales growth is slowing, wages are rising and capital spending is dropping.

"Approximately one-third of respondents reports rising sales at their firms during the third quarter of 2022, compared to nearly two-thirds at the end of last year," NABE Business Conditions Survey Chair Jan Hogrefe, who also serves as chief economist for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement. "Profit margins have contracted, on balance, with more respondents reporting falling rather than rising profit margins for the first time since mid-2020."

Despite a robust recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the US economy has been weighed down by a months long bout of historically high inflation.

The Federal Reserve has stepped up its efforts to tamp down high prices via a series of blockbuster interest rate hikes.

The high inflationary environment has resulted in price hikes at the corporate level - 52% of respondents said the prices their firms charge were up in the third quarter - but the latest survey indicates that some prices are starting to come back down. A total of 9% of respondents indicated prices were falling, the largest share reported since January 2021.

A driver of those cost pressures appear to be rising wages: 62% of respondents said pay rose at their firms during the third quarter, up from 55% in the July second-quarter survey but down from the record high of 70% recorded in April.

The survey also showed that the cost of materials during the third quarter was at its lowest level since April 2021.

Shortages of raw materials and labor continue to hinder businesses' operations, according to the survey. The share of respondents reporting shortages remained near record levels.

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