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'Historical data will show that in 2016 the US was in recession': Texas manufacturer

It’s dusk in Dallas. (Image: Pexels)

Most economic data show that the US economy is still growing, albeit at a lackluster pace. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, US GDP grew at a 0.8% pace in Q2.

However, the big aggregate numbers fail to capture the tone of what’s going on at more localized levels. For some manufacturing and energy driven economies in the US, things look like a recession if not an outright depression.

Sometime after the election, historical data will show that in 2016 the U.S. was in recession,” said a machinery manufacturer who responded to the Dallas Fed’s latest manufacturing outlook survey. (Every month, the Dallas Fed conducts a survey of Texas-based manufacturers for an up-to-date read on the state’s economic activity.)

“The global economies and the US economy are very weak and uncertain,” a fabricated metal product manufacturer said.

Even talk of and memories of a recession can be bad

An unintended consequence of this talk of recessions is that it affects folks who aren’t in a recession. They cause consumers and businesses to delay purchases, which can exacerbate an unfavorable feedback loop of decline economic activity.

It doesn’t help that the memory of the most recent recession is fresh and making things worse.

“What you’ve seen overall since 2008 and ‘09 – that was a wound to the American psyche,” Warren Buffett said in a recent interview with Politico. “People were scared silly then … really we hadn’t had since the Great Depression.”

Simply put, it’s trauma.

“Some people are still recovering from the trauma of what happened in 2007-2008,” President Barack Obama said in an interview with Yahoo Finance’s Nicole Sinclair. “You know, we went through a really scary time.”

Buffett and Obama argue that the traumatic experience of the finance crisis has weighed on sentiment and activity more so than most recessions.

It remains to be seen what the data will eventually say about 2016.

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