Examining the Economy | WYPR

Examining the Economy

Jan 18, 2017

Credit ChelseaViola/flickr

As of this moment, the U.S. economy seems to be in pretty decent shape. Odds of a near-term recession appear low. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the economy has expanded for the past 11 quarters.  Hiring remains stable. Home prices have been rising. Private construction spending has been expanding. Consumer spending is up, particularly in the form of online sales. However, there were moments in 2016 when things didn’t look quite so good.

The stock market got off to a very bad start last year, potentially signaling trouble for the broader economy.  By February 11 of 2016, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had declined approximately 10 percent from the beginning of the year. Job creation appeared to be slowing. There were barely any jobs created in May of 2016, which represented a third consecutive month of slowing job growth.

By July of last year, economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal generated an average probability of recession within 12 months at 22 percent. But those odds have ratcheted lower in recent months, reaching 17 percent by early December.  Many businesspeople appear to have become more upbeat due to prospects for less regulation, lower taxes, and more infrastructure spending.