JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon lays out the odds of a mild or hard recession—and warns there’s a 30% chance of “something we don’t expect”

October 21, 2022, 9:54 AM UTC
Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., speaks during the Institute of International Finance (IIF) annual membership meeting in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022.
Ting Shen—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Good morning.

I had a wide-ranging and occasionally raucous conversation with JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon last night at the Fortune Global Forum dinner in New York. I asked him to elaborate on his recently cited views on the economic outlook. His answer:

It’s not about predictions—it’s about probabilities and the range of possible outcomes. Right now, I think there’s about a 5% chance of a soft landing. I think there’s maybe about a 30% chance of a mild recession, and maybe a 30% chance of a harder recession—think a possibility of 6% unemployment. And then I think there’s another 30% chance of something else—maybe stagflation or something we don’t expect.”

That fits with the results of a new CEO poll out this morning, conducted in collaboration with Deloitte, that shows 76% of CEOs are pessimistic about the outlook for the next 12 months. But 67% say they are optimistic about their own companies’ performance over the same period. And asked to cite the greatest challenges they faced, talent and labor issues were mentioned more often than macroeconomic issues.

How can that be? My guess is either the recession turns out much milder than predicted—in which case it may not do what’s needed to bring down inflation—or CEOs find it hits them much harder than they are currently anticipating. We will see. 

I asked Dimon about the CEO survey, and he said:

“I’ve looked at CEO surveys my whole life. When I led the BRT, I made a chart of how “CEOs think X” did, and what many think has often been pretty much a reflection of their own order books, what other experts think, etc., and generally goes up or down a little bit. But if you think about the exact timing of every inflection point, we almost never get it right.”

Our survey also found that 91% of the CEOs plan to invest in A.I. in the next twelve months. They said those investments are driven less by a desire to reduce costs (48%) than to accelerate intelligent insights (63%), improve decision making (53%), and increase speed to execution (50%).

And speaking of A.I., Fortune is again hosting its Brainstorm A.I. event Dec. 5 and 6 in San Francisco, focusing on how new data technologies can supercharge business. Among those attending are Stanford’s Fei-Fei Li, Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi, Landing.AI’s Andrew Ng, Google’s James Manyika, and Meta’s Joelle Pineau. Apply for an invitation here.

Other news below.

Alan Murray


U.K. chaos

Liz Truss has resigned as British prime minister, just 44 days after assuming the role. The Conservatives now have a week to choose a new PM. The process could be over as soon as Monday, if only one name gets 100 votes from Tory lawmakers. If more contenders clear the threshold, and party grandees can't get someone to drop out, the top two names go to an accelerated vote among party members. And it’s looking like Boris Johnson is in the mix, despite having resigned in disgrace in the summer. (He’s still under investigation for lying to Parliament, so any return could prove quite brief.) Guardian

Gas cap

Germany has relented and will now back an EU-wide cap on the price of natural gas. Under an agreement announced in the early hours of this morning, EU countries want Brussels to urgently create a “temporary dynamic price corridor on natural gas transactions,” and the bloc will follow Spain and Portugal in limiting the price of gas used to generate power. There’s also talk of joint gas purchases and increased efforts to cut demand. Financial Times

EV push

There’s been a massive increase in automakers’ electric-vehicle spending plans, with the big players now set to invest almost $1.2 trillion through 2030. Reuters’ analysis sees manufacturers making 54 million EVs in 2030, meaning electrified transport would by that point be the norm. Twenty million of those cars would be Teslas, under Elon Musk’s plans. Reuters


College enrollment has tumbled 3.2% since 2020 as the path back to pre-pandemic levels grows ‘further out of reach’, by Alena Botros

Are we entering the Great Disengagement? Women and millennials are feeling the biggest disconnection from their employers—but a looming recession is preventing people from quitting, by Christiaan Hetzner

Workers who switched jobs during the ‘Great Resignation’ are now worried about keeping their new ones, by Tristan Bove

A crypto challenge for lawyers: How to cite blockchains and NFTs?, by Jeff John Roberts

What is ESG investing?, by Ivana Pino

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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