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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

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

Biden to Trump: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life"

Former VP Joe Biden pushed back Thursday against allegations from President Trump, saying he had never profited from foreign sources. "Nothing was unethical," Biden told debate moderator Kristen Welker about his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while he was vice president.

Why it matters: Earlier on Thursday, Hunter Biden's former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released a statement saying Joe Biden's claims that he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son were "false."