Another day, another surprise for the economic forecasters: a record 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week. Oxford Economics in an email called it an “incomprehensible jump” that may be “the new normal.” Joe Brusuelas, chief economist for middle market audit and advisory firm RSM, wrote that such “tectonic shifts” imply a “real-time unemployment rate of 10.1% at a minimum.”
There is so much uncertainty in the world right now that economic forecasters are downgrading their predictions almost as fast as they can make them. Within a few weeks, Goldman Sachs downgraded its second quarter GDP estimates from –2% to –24% to –32%.
Predictions are pretty clear that a recession, and maybe a very bad one, is in the offing. But given how quickly the situation is changing, is there a chance the country is heading for a depression?
Fortune discussed the issue with 10 economists and financial market experts. Most at this point consider a recession essentially a given. And a depression? That’s where opinions start to diverge wildly.
After all, out of the 22 recessions since 1900, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, only one was dire enough to warrant such a title: the …