Friday, April 13, 2018

The Longest Expansions in U.S. History

by Bill McBride on 4/13/2018 12:08:00 PM

According to NBER, the four longest expansions in U.S. history are:

1) From a trough in March 1991 to a peak in March 2001 (120 months).

2 Tied) From a trough in February 1961 to a peak in December 1969 (106 months).

2 Tied) From a trough in June 2009 to today, April 2018 (106 months and counting).

4) From a trough in November 1982 to a peak in July 1990 (92 months).

So the current expansion is currently tied for the second longest, and it seems very likely that the current expansion will surpass the '90s expansion in the Summer of 2019.

As I noted last year in Is a Recession Imminent? (one of the five questions I'm frequently asked)

Expansions don't die of old age! There is a very good chance this will become the longest expansion in history.
A key reason the current expansion has been so long is that housing didn't contribute for the first few years of the expansion.  Also the housing recovery was sluggish for a few more years after the bottom in 2011.  This was because of the huge overhang of foreclosed properties coming on the market. Single family housing starts and new home sales both bottomed in 2011 - so this is just the seventh year of expansion - and I expect further increases in starts and sales over the next couple of years.

Recently the story has changed, but I still think the current expansion will end up being the longest in U.S. history.

Note: Here are five questions that people ask me all the time and my answers late last year.
1. Are house prices in a bubble?
2. Is a recession imminent (within the next 12 months)?
3. Is the stock market a bubble?
4. Can investors use macro analysis?
5. Will Mr. Trump have a negative impact on the economy?