U.S. Economy

Anatomy of a Recession

U.S. Economy: Stay in Front of the Business Cycle

The Anatomy of a Recession (AOR) program is designed to help you stay on top of the business cycle and provide thoughtful insights through our exclusive risk and recovery dashboards. Updated monthly, AOR offers a concise, practical look at what the key indicators are saying about the United States economy and the potential impact on the equity markets from ClearBridge Investments.  The data suggests that the economy exited the COVID-19 recession around mid-year 2020. As we move into 2021, investor focus has shifted to the possibility of a double dip recession which is why ClearBridge has re-introduced the Recession Risk dashboard.  Click on each tab for a different view of the dashboard data. 

U.S. Recession Risk

  • 9 variables have historically foreshadowed a durable recovery
  • The overall signal suggests the economy has started a new economic expansion


Data as of December 31, 2020. 
A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales. A recession begins just after the economy reaches a peak of activity and ends as the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion. Expansion is the normal state of the economy; most recessions are brief and they have been rare in recent decades. 
Source: The National Bureau of Economic Research  

Sources: ClearBridge Investments, BLS, Federal Reserve, Census Bureau, ISM, BEA, American Chemistry Council, American Trucking Association, Conference Board, and Bloomberg. The ClearBridge Recession Risk Dashboard was created in January 2016. References to the signals it would have sent in the years prior to January 2016 are based on how the underlying data was reflected in the component indicators at the time.

Recession Recovery by Comparison

  • 9 variables have historically foreshadowed a durable recovery
  • The overall signal suggests the economy remain in a recession

Data as of Dec. 31, 2020. 

Source: FactSet, Bloomberg, Conference Board, Census Bureau, Federal Reserve, FRBPA, Chicago Fed, ISM, Dept. of Labor, Bloomberg/Barclays, AAII, Investors Intelligence, and Moody's

U.S. Recovery Case Dashboard

Case Study: 2018-2020

Source: BLS, Federal Reserve, Census Bureau, ISM, BEA, American Chemistry Council, American Trucking Association, Conference Board, and Bloomberg. The ClearBridge Recession Risk Dashboard was created in January 2016. References to the signals it would have sent in the years prior to January 2016 are based on how the underlying data was reflected in the component indicators at the time.

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Preparing for the Next Recession
Through ClearBridge's ever evolving suite of tools, see how they can help you prepare for the next recession.

Discover ClearBridge's Equity Fund Range

1 Each indicator can signal expansion, caution or recession based on the latest readings and ClearBridge’s analysis of the underlying trends. The signals and their changes are based on ClearBridge’s analysis and interpretations of the data. The ClearBridge Recession Risk Dashboard is not a crystal ball, but it can serve as a tool to help evaluate the risk of recession. The indicator is updated monthly using the most recent data available, supplied by Clearbridge.

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