Jul 1, 2019

The never-ending boom

Data: The National Bureau of Economic Research; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios. Note: Current expansion is ongoing.

This month marks the longest period of time the U.S. economy has gone without a recession, just edging past the economic cycle that ended when the dot com bubble burst.

Why it matters: This milestone comes at one of the more pessimistic moments in the last decade as economists are warning that a significant slowdown in growth, and maybe a recession,is coming thanks to the impact of trade tensions and slumping growth in other economies across the globe.

Behind the numbers: The pace of growth has been significantly slower than its predecessors, making the length of the cycle the defining factor of this period.

  • "Signs of over-exuberance" have ended the past 3 economic cycles, Michael Pearce, an economist at Capital Economics, tells Axios. "The interesting thing about this expansion is that it's been very slow and we've really not seen a big buildup of excesses."
  • Inflation has also been notably muted in the face of a near-50-year low unemployment rate and strong job creation. And low interest rates that's helped prop up the economy in the past decade may be even lower in coming months.

The bottom line: Economic cycles don't die of old age (cliché, but true). Still, as people worry that a recession is around the corner simply because there hasn’t been a recession in a while, that could weigh on consumer and business confidence — and the fear of a recession could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Go deeper: The yield curve and what it says about the economy

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Energy deputy secretary nominee in hot water after contradicting Trump

Mark Menezes speaks at a forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 12. Photo: Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Trump administration officials are internally raising concerns about President Trump’s nominee for Energy deputy secretary, who appeared to openly contradict the president on nuclear waste storage at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain last week.

Driving the news: While speaking at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing last Wednesday, Mark Menezes told members of the panel that the Trump administration is still interested in storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and that “what we're trying to do is to put together a process that will give us a path to permanent storage at Yucca."

Exclusive: Pompeo says new China media restrictions "long overdue"

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The State Department announced Tuesday that it has designated five Chinese state media outlets as "foreign missions," meaning that they will be treated as arms of the Chinese government.

Driving the news: In his first public statement on the new designation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tells Axios that the five outlets are "clearly controlled by the [Chinese Communist Party], and we are simply recognizing that fact by taking this action.”

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