In 2010, statistical experiments based on components of the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index showed a significant possibility of a U.S. recession over a 24-month period. Since then, the European sovereign debt crisis has aggravated international threats to the U.S. economy. Moreover, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami demonstrated that the U.S. economy is vulnerable to outside disruptions. Updated forecasts suggest that the probability of a U.S. recession has remained elevated and may have increased over the past year, in part because of foreign financial and economic crises. Gathering storms across the Atlantic threaten a U.S. economy not yet recovered from the last recession. The September Economic Outlook from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicates that growth prospects have significantly dimmed for major industrialized economies (OECD 2011). Growth in the G-7 countries is expected to remain below 1 % for the rest of the year, while the odds of a contraction are fifty-fifty. The semiannual Global Financial Stability Report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) highlights risks the European sovereign debt crisis poses to the stability of the financial system (IMF 2011a). The crisis has resulted in escalating volatility in equity markets and the lowest interest rates on long-term U.S. Treasury securities since the 1940s. In its Worl
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