Is the U.S. Economy on the Brink of a Recession?

September 03, 2015 | Stephanie Osten, Principal

Historical analysis has shown that an inverted or flattening yield curve may be a warning sign of an upcoming recession. Since the 1950s, an inverted curve has preceded seven of the last eight recessions, with spreads near zero in 1960. An inverted yield curve occurs when short-term yields to maturity are higher than long-term yields to maturity (depicted where spreads fall below zero on the chart). This indicator has proven to be a reliable predictor of recessions and future economic activity.

Last week’s correction has led to investor concern that the market will continue to decline and evolve into a bear market, which is unlikely unless there is a recession and corresponding inversion of the yield curve. This week’s chart shows that the yield curve is currently positively sloped and has in fact steepened on a year-to-date basis, providing some confidence that recent market volatility is indicative of a correction rather than another recession.

Stephanie Osten

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The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

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