Though many mainstream economists and commentators are finally starting to concede that a recession in the next year or two is likely, almost all of them downplay the likely severity of the coming recession by saying "but it will be short-lived!" and "we're due for a healthy slowdown after a ten year expansion!" (economists were saying the same thing in 2006 and 2007 too). My view, however, is that virtually everyone is underestimating the tremendous economic risks that have built up globally during the past decade of extremely stimulative monetary policies. I believe that these unknown risks are going to rear their ugly heads with a vengeance in the coming recession and that heavily indebted governments will have far less firepower with which to rescue their economies like they did during the 2008 to 2009 Global Financial Crisis.
According to the New York Fed's very accurate yield curve-based recession probability model, there is a 27% probability of a U.S. recession in the next 12 months. The last time that recession odds were the same as they are now was in early-2007, which was shortly before the Great Recession officially started in December 2007 – talk about too close for comfort!
The New York Fed's recession probability model is based on the 10-year and 3-month Treasury yield spread, which is the difference between 10-year and 3-month Treasury rates. In normal economic environments, the 10-year Treasury yield is higher than the 3-month Treasury yield. Right before a recession, however, this spread inverts as the 3-month Treasury yield actually becomes higher than the 10-year Treasury rate – this is known as an inverted yield curve. As the chart below shows, inverted yield curves have preceded all modern recessions. The 10-year and 3-month Treasury spread inverted in May, which started the recession countdown clock.