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Time is rarely kind to fortunetellers. Consider that at this time last year, most economists − and nearly the entire business press − saw doom on the horizon. “Everyone thinks a recession is coming in 2023,” one CNBC headline blared. A recession is “all but inevitable,” Time reported. “Only when growth truly goes negative will America be able to contain its rampant price pressures,” the Economist darkly warned.

And then, as the months passed, the economy kept chugging along − and the “inevitable” kept receding into the distance. The recession is “now expected to arrive later than predicted,” according to an AP headline from February. A downturn is “100% inevitable,” USA Today forecast in July. It’s “coming soon,” Bloomberg said in October. 

And yet it’s 2024, the Dow Jones Industrial Average recently reached a record high, unemployment remains low, and consumers keep opening their wallets. So maybe the economics profession could use a dose of intellectual humility in the coming year.

On the other hand, forecasting is fun − and some people are even good at it. One of the few to get it right last year was finance professor D. Brian Blank of Mississippi State University. In a year-ahead forecast for The Conversation, Blank predicted the labor market and consumer spending would remain buoyant. He’s back, along with Appalachian State University finance professor Brandy Hadley, to discuss what 2024 has in store for inflation, incomes, interest rates − and, most importantly, your wallet.

Will events vindicate them? Watch this space in January 2025.

[ Science from the scientists themselves. Sign up for our weekly science email newsletter. ]

Tracy Walsh

Economy + Business Editor

Good things are in store in 2024. Sakorn Sukkasemsakorn/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Economic lookahead: As we ring in 2024, can the US economy continue to avoid a recession?

D. Brian Blank, Mississippi State University; Brandy Hadley, Appalachian State University

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