Predictions: The Economy in 2009

Predictions for 2009 are here.

Predictions for 2010 are here . . .

Predictions for Last Year: Well I had a mixed bag.  I was wrong about their being a another megafailure of a bank (well a disastrous one), about new regulation, and about more lawsuits.  I was right about the credit crunch and high unemployment.  I was right about people saving more, but I'm not sure if the motivations were on principle or fear.

So my predictions for 2010:

  • I give it even odds of things staying mostly the same, a slight recovery, or a double-dip recession.  The latter will most likely happen if there's a BIG shift in the housing market or a big bank goes under.  I'm still not ruling another disaster out.
  • Housing market will have another fall – it's third – later in the year no matter what.  A mix of factors will cause this, most of the factor being more homes on the market due to moves, bankruptcy, and so on.  Home sales are not going to go up and stay up.
  • The US will lag behind the rest of the world, either way, due to its multiple issues.  That will start getting people's attention around Q3 as the world wonders what is up with the country.  
  • Unemployment will be at least 10% for the next 6 months.
  • There will be an attempt at a second stimulus package by the US government.  Odds of passing are 50/50.  The Health care issue will be treated as "resolved" as politicians try to focus on continuing unemployment.
  • Some movement will occur on banking reform, but it will be the result of very odd alliances and some political grandstanding.  This makes it more unpredictable.  Nothing solid will hit until 2011.
  • Economics will be part of a lot of political grandstanding, even more than usual.
  • Discussing the social impact of the employment issues will start making the rounds of popular news programs.


  • Recovery will be slow. We will see more signs of cautious optimism in the beginning of the year – job losses slowing, sales beginning to pick up – but it’s going to take awhile before we’re fully back on our feet. (Part of this is because we won’t recover until other countries get back on their feet, and some of them may have a tougher time of it than we will.)
  • Fallout from the recession will cause a couple of permanent shifts in work trends. Increasing numbers of companies will utilize modern technology and encourage employees to work from home, with some only opening their physical offices two or three days a week in order to save heating and electricity costs.
  • The self-employment/freelancing trend, begun as a means of survival in a tough economy (for both laid-off employees and companies looking to reduce costs by hiring independent contractors), will continue as the recovery settles in and people discover they like being their own boss.
  • Business travel, which shrank during the recession, will continue to contract as companies find it’s easier and more economical to use international teleconferencing technology. More bad news for a travel industry increasingly fallen on hard times, but good news for people who’ve had it with flying to Beijing, going to two meetings and coming right back home.
  • Home sales will pick up, but slowly. People will continue to rent for longer than they might have in years past as they rebuild trust in the banks in the wake of Bailout Nation.