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No two recessions are alike. But the potential recession in 2022 is looking like the most unique one we’ve ever seen.
Some traditional signs of an economic slowdown are already upon us. U.S. GDP has shrunk for two quarters in a row — the textbook definition of a technical recession.
Meanwhile, homebuilding activity has plummeted while consumer confidence is at its lowest point since the pandemic erupted. However, President Joe Biden said on Thursday that the nation remains "on the right path."
Here are three big reasons why the upcoming recession is different.
Mitt Romney says a billionaire tax will trigger demand for these two physical assets — get in now before the super-rich swarm
You could be the landlord of Walmart, Whole Foods and Kroger (and collect fat grocery store-anchored income on a quarterly basis)
Warren Buffett likes these 2 investment opportunities outside of the stock market
The labor market is robust
In most recessions, economic output and employment decline simultaneously. Lower revenue compels businesses to cut back on staff, which leads to higher unemployment. Ultimately, higher unemployment leads to lower consumer spending and that creates a vicious cycle.
In 2022, however, unemployment is still at a record low. The official unemployment rate in July was 3.5% – matching a 50-year low reached just before the pandemic. A robust job market is “historically unusual” during a recession, according to economists at Goldman Sachs.
This unusually strong job market could be deriving strength from another unusual source: corporate financial strength.
Companies are cash-rich
Corporations see a decline in sales and earnings during recessions. That process may have already started. However, U.S. corporations are sustaining profits and sitting on an immense cash hoard going into this recession.
The average U.S. corporation’s after-tax profit margin is around 16% right now. In traditional recessions, this rate drops down to single digits. Meanwhile, these corporations are collectively sitting on over $4 trillion in cash. That’s a record level and also highly unusual for a recessionary environment.