Friday, August 13, 2010

Double Dip Debate

by Bill McBride on 8/13/2010 03:40:00 PM

From CNBC: US 'Virtually Certain' to Fall Into A New Recession: Rosenberg

The risks of a double-dip recession—if we ever got out of the first one—are actually a lot higher than people are talking about right now," [David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff] said. "I think that it's almost a foregone conclusion, a virtual certainty."
And here is an interview today of Rosenberg at the WSJ: The Big Interview with David Rosenberg
In an interview with WSJ's Kelly Evans, Gluskin Sheff's Chief Economist David Rosenberg warned that the chances of a double-dip recession are greater than 50-50 and that the recession may not have ended last year at all.
And Neil Irwin at the WaPo has a summary of a Goldman Sachs research note by Ed McKelvey: Goldman Sachs economists: No double dip (probably)
"We think a double dip [recession] has a meaningful probability--25 to 30% in our estimation--but it is not in our base case. A big reason for this judgment is that several key components of private-sector activity have already fallen to levels that are quite low relative to historical averages or underlying fundamentals."

"We note the following five sources of protection against a renewed downturn in economic activity--areas where we think the scope for further downside to US real GDP is limited."
I've made a number of the same arguments as McKelvey ... I noted that "usually a recession (or double-dip) is preceded by a sharp decline in Residential Investment (housing is the best leading indicator for the business cycle), and it [is] hard for RI to fall much further" and on the personal saving rate, I noted "most of the drag from a rising saving rate appears to be behind us".

I think we will avoid a technical double dip recession (or a continuation of the "great recession", see Recession Dating for the difference), but the odds are uncomfortably high - and it will probably feel like a recession to millions of Americans. It will be especially discouraging when the unemployment rate starts increasing again (I think that is likely) and when reported house prices start falling (very likely).