Impending recession unlikely to be brief or shallow if elevated inflation lingers

Malte Mueller—Getty Images

Good Friday morning.

I wish I could share the optimism of all those who think we are going to have a “brief and shallow” recession (see Wednesday’s post) and then inflation will be gone. That’s just not the way the world works.

A survey of executives out yesterday from PwC makes my point. This one is not of CEOs, but rather a mix of top finance, HR, tech, marketing, etc., leads, with some board members thrown in as well. They were asked to rate the risks facing corporations, and “talent acquisition and retention,” “rising production costs,” “supply chain disruptions,” and “inflation” all rated higher than “recession.” If the recession is going to be so brief and shallow that it doesn’t tamp down concerns about the costly war for talent or rising production and supply chain costs, what good is it? After all, those are the very things that continue to drive non-energy inflation up.

I’m more inclined to agree with economist Jeffrey Sachs, who said this week that he doesn’t see inflation going away “anytime soon,” and believes there will “need to be more aggressive action by central banks and especially the Fed.” You can read how Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan breaks the risk down here.

And since it is Friday, some feedback: Aron Cramer, CEO of Business for Social Responsibility, correctly pointed out in response to yesterday’s report on the Business Roundtable’s shift to stakeholder capitalism, that the BRT had a very conflicted response to the bill passed by Congress last week. While it praised the climate provisions—“We continue to believe that congressional action on energy and climate is critical to spurring additional investments in new technologies and enabling the U.S. to lead the global transition to a greener economy”—it opposed the bill because of the 15% minimum corporate tax. Apparently, BRT members don’t see paying a reasonable share of their income in taxes as part of their social responsibility. I hope that decision at least provoked some heated internal debate. 

More news below.

Alan Murray


Trump investigation

A U.S. judge said Thursday that he was considering releasing some of the evidence the Justice Department presented to validate its raid on former president Donald Trump’s Florida home last week. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart said he felt there were “portions of the affidavit that could be unsealed.” Reuters

Crypto sell-off

Bitcoin fell to its lowest level in more than three weeks during early trade on Friday, plummeting below $22,000. Popular coins Ether, Binance Coin, Cardano and Solana also saw their prices decline. CNBC

Nuclear threat in Ukraine

Russia has refused to comply with calls for the demilitarization of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, despite apocalyptic warnings about what could happen if conflict around the site continues. Fortune

Polio vaccinations

Idaho and Washington, D.C., have America’s lowest polio vaccination rates among kindergartners, while Louisiana and Mississippi have the highest, according to CDC data. This map compares vaccination rates in all states. NBC News


China’s dominance

Chinese corporations now dominate the Fortune Global 500 list of biggest companies by revenue—but they are far less profitable than their U.S. rivals. Fortune

Layoffs looming

Half of U.S. companies are planning to let people go, according to the results of a survey carried out by global consultancy PwC. Just over half of the survey respondents said they had already implemented hiring freezes, the poll also found. Bloomberg

Retirement plans

Bankrate has ranked the 10 best and worst states to retire in this year. Florida, Georgia and Michigan were named the top three, while Alaska, Maine and California came in last. Five categories were considered in the compilation of the rankings: affordability, wellness, culture, weather, and crime. Fortune

Healthy eating

Nutritionists have developed a scale to measure how healthy foods are, with some surprising results. According to researchers at Tufts University, ice cream is healthier than a multigrain bagel with raisins. Even potato chips and almond chocolate M&Ms were considered healthier than the bagel by the so-called “food compass.” Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by Chloe Taylor.

This is the web version of CEO Daily, a newsletter of must-read insights from Fortune CEO Alan Murray. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

Read More

CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet