Inflation, unemployment, the housing crisis and a possible recession: Two economists forecast what's ahead in 2023

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

D. Brian Blank, Mississippi State University and Rodney Ramcharan, University of Southern California

(THE CONVERSATION) With the current U.S. inflation rate at 7.1%, interest rates rising and housing costs up, many Americans are wondering if a recession is looming. 

Two economists discussed that and more in a recent wide-ranging and exclusive interview for The Conversation. Brian Blank is a finance professor at Mississippi State University who specializes in the study of corporations and how they respond to economic downturns. Rodney Ramcharan is an economist at the University of Southern California who previously held posts with the Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund.

Both were interviewed by Bryan Keogh, deputy managing editor and senior editor of economy and business for The Conversation. 

Are we headed for a recession in 2023?

Brian Blank: The consensus view among most forecasters is that there is a recession coming at some point, maybe in the middle of next year. I’m a little bit more optimistic than that consensus.

People have been calling for a recession for months now, and this seems to be the most anticipated recession on record. I think that it could still be a ways off. Consumer balance sheets are still relatively strong, stronger than we’ve seen them for most periods.

I think that the labor market is going to remain hotter than people have expected. Right now, over the last eight months, the labor market has added more jobs than anticipated, which is one of the strongest streaks on record. And I think that until consumer balance sheets weaken considerably, we can expect consumer spending, which is the largest part of the economy, to continue to grow quickly.

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