Most Chief Financial Officers Expect a Recession by 2020 at the Latest

December 12, 2018, 1:03 PM UTC

The latest survey of chief financial officers shows that 82% of U.S. CFOs expect a recession to have started by 2020. Almost half (48.6%) of the CFOs thought the downturn would happen by next year, according to the Duke CFO Global Business Outlook poll.

“All of the ingredients are in place: a waning expansion that began in June 2009—almost a decade ago—heightened market volatility, the impact of growth-reducing protectionism, and the ominous flattening of the yield curve which has predicted recessions accurately over the past 50 years,” Campbell Harvey, a director of the survey, told the Wall Street Journal.

CFOs are pessimistic everywhere in the world. According to the survey, which has a global sampling, 86% of CFOs in Canada, 67% in Europe, 54% in Asia, 42% in Latin America, and 97% in Africa think a recession will hit by the end of 2019.

The biggest concern U.S. CFOs had was the tightening labor market, which makes hiring and, therefore, continuing operations and expansion more difficult. Other top worries included employee benefits cost, which would include health insurance; government policies; and economic uncertainties.

That’s in keeping with the gloomy view of Blackrock, the world’s biggest asset manager. Although the firm was a little less pessimistic, with a recession unlikely next year but hitting a 50% probability by 2021.