In August 2011, famed economist Nouriel Roubini put the probability of a U.S. double-dip recession in 2012 at 60 percent.

The Economic Cycle Research Institute, or ECRI, a well-regarded forecasting firm, has been predicting for months that a U.S. recession will occur, reaffirming its bearish prognostication Thursday.

In December 2011, Lakshman Achuthan, operating chief of the ECRI, said it may take a year for the institute’s bearish forecast to materialize.

The central thesis of both forecasters is that loose monetary policy can no longer prop up the U.S. economy, which has weak private-sector growth and faces the threat of expiring fiscal stimulus.

“There’ll be more monetary easing and quantitative easing done by the Fed and other central banks, but the credit channel is broken. … We’re going to a recession, we are at stall speed and we are running out of policy bullets,” Roubini told Bloomberg Television.

Data from Federal Reserve, chart made using Microsoft Excel

“Can unprecedented, concerted global monetary policy action repeal the business cycle? The objective coincident and leading indexes that we have always monitored are still telling us that it cannot,” the ECRI wrote on its Big Picture blog Thursday.

The ECRI’s U.S. Coincident Index, or USCI, which measures current economic conditions, is showing decelerating growth.

“It’s an authoritative indication that overall U.S. economic growth is actually worsening, not reviving,” the ECRI stated.

The institute asserted that although U.S. non-farm payrolls growth has been strong in recent months, jumping by 227,000 in February, it will likely “start flagging in the coming months” because consumer spending is weak.

The ECRI’s Weekly Leading Index, or WLI, designed to anticipate turning points in the U.S. economy by two to three quarters, is recently showing some of the worst growth rates since July 2009.

The WLI and USCI track readings of production, employment, income and sales.


The institute concluded that its economic indicators give it “no other choice” but to maintain its recession call.

One shouldn't take the ECRI’s predictions lightly.

The organization corrected called the beginnings of the 2001 and 2007 to 2009 recessions. Perhaps more importantly, the ECRI has issued no false alarms in the last 15 years, according to the New York Times.