ECRI Renews U.S. Recession Call Clashing with Wall Street

EconMatters's picture

By EconMatters

The U.S. economy is showing signs of life with good economic numbers after the ECRI (Economic Cycle Research Institute) declared on 30 Sep. that the U.S. has already or is about to dip into recession.


WSJ Market Beat noted that even ECRI’s own weekly leading index (WLI) came in at 122.5 with the latest reading, the highest since early September.  However, ECRI said it relies on the longer-term WLI (See Chart Below) when it made the dreaded 'R' call over two months ago.  (The long-term WLI is available only to ECRI's paying clients, but the chart below was posted at The Big Picture via Jim Bianco on 9 Dec.)   

The bottom line is that ECRI says its recession call still stands.  Lakshman Achuthan, co-founder of ECRI said in a Bloomberg TV interview (clip at our site)on 8 Dec. that

“This one [downturn] is persisting.  Give us a year, and you'll see if we are right on our recession call."  


Chart Source: The Big Picture via Jim Bianco, 9 Dec. 2011


Wall Street obviously has an entirely different view from the ECRI.


The chart below from the Bespoke Group shows the Intrade contract betting on whether the US will go into a recession in 2012. For the contract to pay out, US real GDP would need to be negative for two consecutive quarters. Right now, the odds of a recession in 2012 are at 38.2% based on actual monetary bets, down from a high near 50% in early October as U.S. economic data have gotten much better since.



Chart Source: Bespoke Group, 9 Dec. 2011



For now, we'd agree with Achuthan when he remarked, “You’re not going to know whether or not we’re wrong until a year from now.”  Only time will tell if ECRI or Wall Street has the brighter crystal ball.


Further Reading - Recession Drives up Poverty in America's Suburbs


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Georgesblog's picture

Wall St. is a dream world. The emphasis has gone from financing the building of anything business related, to speculating on the direction of the market. The disconnect with the real world is complete. Wall St. is the picture of the vultures, sitting on top of the power poles, watching for the next roadkill.

ebworthen's picture

Still in a recession.

The "markets" have little to do with the economy.

"Data" is fudged, fungible, an econometric taffy; with a bias towards propaganda.

geno-econ's picture

Poor Smedley, only lived until until 59 years old, or the day after he made that statement.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Perhaps he had finally said what needed to be said. At least he died the day after he made the statement, rather than the day before he made it.

Zola's picture

You have to properly adjust GDP for inflation... All of this is meaningless. The government fudges the numbers and reports up 2% in GDP YOY but if Inflation is 5% you actually had -3% real GDP YOY...

Tsar Pointless's picture

I think what these shut-ins don't get is that a decline of even 10-15% from current levels between now and next December will absolutely devastate not just individuals, but corporations, governments, and the entire societal fabric that is already being tenuously held together.

People are hurting. Many many people are. And they have been for decades in some places - only cheap and easy credit has kept the game going. We're at the end of that cycle. Yes, the end.

There was a vaunted "double-dip" recession in the US in the 1930s, too.

We refer to that period by something other than "recessionary", though, do we not?

I guess next year is 1937, isn't it?

IAmNotMark's picture

I think next year is 1937, 1914, 1859, and Dec 6, 1941, all rolled into one.

The way out of this mess is war, more war, and war on top of war. 

That's not what I want, but I can see the wheels turning in our leader's evil brains.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

or perhaps next year is 1775. Sometimes you don't need a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowing.

The danger is economic collapse is a lot like a nuclear bomb in slow motion, criticality is achieved by pushing together bits of subcritical materials into a condition where the compression causes the reactions to react with one another with such intensity over such a small time frame that a chain reaction occurs and then its all heat and dust and an enormous shockwave that destroys the landscape.

When the economy reaches criticality it too will self destruct in a chain reaction that will be fast and furious and leave the landscape changed forever.

What happens if we had the russian revolution,the french revolution and the american revolution occurring simultaneously and globally?

I'd like to be optimistic, but those in charge have only impressed me with their incompetence and blindness.

protect yourself, for they won't give a whit about you unless your a rather large corporation.

Tsar Pointless's picture

That's not what either of us want, or many of us want for that matter, but none of that matters.

Smedley Butler was right. War is a racket.

    "I spent 33 years and 4 months in active service as a member of our country's most agile military force--the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I suspected I was part of a racket all the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service."
    Smedley D. Butler (1881-1940)
El Viejo's picture

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but Lakshman Achuthan is batting 1000 so far. However, Dr. Ian Sheperdson of High Freq Economics agreed this morning on Bloomberg that there would be a mild recession in the US and the recession in Europe would be bad for US exports, but he was fairly positive. I didn not hear him say anything on China or anything else other than positive news from small business. So we may get a small Christmas rally iinto next year when all hell could break loose.

Hedge Fund of One's picture

Economies are dynamic. Similar to bear market rallies in stocks, even the WLI will tick up within the context of an overall downtrend. Those ticks up are what give the extrapolating economists hope. Our huge trading partner Europe is already at near zero growth and China is at multi-year lows, and somehow we extrapolate that the U.S. will be booming, relatively to them? Only one way to find out.


jeff montanye's picture

i'm going with ecri (and john hussman).  another interesting black swan is cited by mr. krasting: