While investors, business leaders and some economic models continue to warn a recession is imminent, Wall Street’s most powerful investment bank remains cautiously optimistic.
Goldman Sachs told clients on Monday it still sees a 35% chance of a US recession in the next 12 months. While that is double the normal risk of a recession, it is far below the 63% average in a recent forecaster survey by The Wall Street Journal.
“We still see a very plausible non-recessionary four-step path from the high-inflation economy of the present to a low-inflation economy of the future,” Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius wrote in a report.
In other words, a recession is not a slam dunk. The Federal Reserve can still pull off a soft landing for the US economy.
By contrast, a Bloomberg Economics model released in late October determined the risk of a recession over the next 12 months stands at a staggering 100%. A probability model run by Ned Davis Research similarly found a 98.1% chance of a global recession.
But Goldman Sachs pointed out the transition to more sustainable — but still positive — economic growth “has already occurred, and it looks durable.” The bank expects gross domestic product growth of about 1% over the next year.
Despite Friday’s stronger-than-expected jobs report, Goldman Sachs says the rebalancing of the job market “looks to be on track.”
And the bank is impressed by the fact that wages have cooled off, though they remain high.
“The most encouraging recent step on the narrow path to a soft landing has been the slowdown in nominal wage growth,” Hatzius wrote.
But the biggest problem facing the economy — high inflation — remains a major challenge.
Goldman Sachs concedes that there has been “much less progress” on the price side. Inflation metrics have mostly stopped getting worse but they also haven’t really got any better either.