Elliot Eisenburg, an internationally acclaimed economist and public speaker, gave a presentation June 18 on the mid-year economic forecast during an annual luncheon held by the Greater Houston Builders Association.

The presentation covered the outlook for job growth, interest rates and inflation, residential and commercial real estate markets, and the energy corridor.

What you need to know

Eisenburg, also known as The Bowtie Economist, said he suspects that the country will wind up in a recession, albeit a mild one.

Eisenberg said if the United States does have a recession, it won’t be akin to the 2007-09 recession, but closer to the recessions that happened in 1970, 1980 and 1990.

“The world isn’t coming to an end,” he said. “There’s a whole lot of caveats here, so don’t go, ‘Ugh it’s going to be awful.’ No it won’t. All recessions aren’t equal.”

According to the Pew Research Center, the 1990-91 recession was short-lived and considered relatively mild.

The unemployment rate increased by about 2%. Followed by a gradual decline, it settled a bit above 4% by the end of the recovery in 2001.

In comparison, during the 2007-09 recession, the unemployment rate increased to 9.1% and took 10 years after the end of the recession to fall below 4% again.

The current unemployment rate as of May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is at 4%.

Long story short

Eisenberg said historically there are certain economic factors that indicate when a recession might happen including:

  • Lower household saving rates
  • Worsening trade deficits
  • Rise in federal tax rates
  • High unemployment rates
  • Tightening credit markets
  • Negative gross domestic product growth

However, he said there are chances that the U.S. will avoid a recession with certain economic factors trending away from the downturn, including:

  • Car sales being higher
  • A larger budget deficit
  • A stable housing market
  • Higher spending rates despite lower income
  • A normal stock market

“We might get lucky,” Eisenberg said. “We might avoid a recession, but there is a reasonable probability that we end up in a mild one, it’s just a matter of how big and how bad.”

Major takeaways

Eisenburg said there are five key takeaways people should keep in mind for the remainder of 2024 and into early 2025.

  1. 2024 will be a decent year.
  2. The Federal Reserve has stopped raising rates.
  3. Job growth will most likely slow.
  4. Inflation should keep decelerating.
  5. Continue watching inflation and unemployment.
To view complete presentations or more content by Eisenberg, visit his website at Graphs and Laughs.