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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

Updated 31 mins ago - World

At least 100 killed, much of Beirut destroyed in massive explosion

Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images

A major explosion Beirut, Lebanon has killed at least 100 people and injured over 4,000, according to the Lebanese Red Cross.

Driving the news: Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the explosions occurred at a warehouse that had been storing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate for over six years.

Biden confidants see VP choices narrowing to Harris and Rice

Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images; Win McNamee/Getty Images

Confidants of Joe Biden believe his choices for vice president have narrowed to Sen. Kamala Harris and Susan Rice — and would be surprised if he picks anyone else.

The state of play: This is a snapshot of the nearly unanimous read that we get from more than a dozen people close to him.

An election like no other

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus will make the 2020 presidential election different from any in modern history: Voting that begins earlier, results that take longer, mail carriers as virtual poll workers and October Surprises that pop in September.

The big picture: Perhaps 80 million Americans will vote early, by mail or in person, Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm, tells Axios. That's going to set up more of an Election Season than an Election Day — and increase the odds of national turmoil over the vote count.