A chart called the “yield curve” has predicted every US recession over the last 50 years. Now it might be predicting another one.

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Economic experts are starting to warn that a US recession is becoming more likely because of something called the “yield curve.” So what’s the yield curve? What does it show? And why is it bad if it “inverts?” We visualized the yield curve over the past four decades, to show why it’s so good at predicting recessions, and what it actually means when the curve changes.

Read more about the yield curve:

* Vox’s Matt Yglesias has an explainer: https://www.vox.com/2019/8/14/20805404/yield-curve-inversion-recession-10-year-2-year
* Here’s how the man who discovered this trend, Campbell Harvey, describes the phenomenon: https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2019/08/18/how-the-finance-prof-who-discovered-the-inverted-yield-curve-explains-it-to-grandma/#17cadff86cae
* The New York Times explains it …. with a football analogy: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/upshot/inverted-yield-curve-bonds-football-analogy.html
* We used data from the Federal Reserve to make these charts. Here’s the yield curve data day-to-day: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield
* And if you really want to dig into historical data, use this tool: https://www.federalreserve.gov/datadownload/Choose.aspx?rel=H15

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