The Boston Globe, November 2023
The United States has avoided a feared recession with the help of surprisingly strong spending by consumers and good luck in eluding potentially damaging economic hits, such as a protracted auto workers strike. But analysts said the risk of a downturn in the next year remains uncomfortably high because those trends can’t last forever.
Americans buffeted by still-elevated inflation are burning through their pandemic savings and feeling less confident about the economy. There also are new risks ahead, including a possible federal government shutdown this month and a war between Israel and Hamas that could send oil prices skyrocketing if it escalates.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday demonstrated the economic uncertainty by holding off, as expected, on another interest rate increase as it recalibrates its fight to lower inflation. But Fed chair Jerome Powell cautioned that the rate hikes, which have been a main driver of recession predictions, aren’t necessarily over.