We'll end with an inoculation against the inevitable. Raise your hand if you think we in the United States will never have another recession.
Okay, it's unanimous. Everyone thinks we'll have another recession.
Second question: When will the next recession occur? Answer: No one knows for sure. But we can get some idea by calculating the number of months that have elapsed in the 42 years between 1973 and 2015. On average, recessions since then have occurred every 71 months, or just shy of six years. As of this writing the last official recession—the Great Recession—technically began in December 2007 and lasted for a year and a half. That was the longest recession on record since the Great Depression, and it officially ended in June 2009.
The truth is we're always due for another recession. The only questions are when it will occur, what will be the trigger event, and what parts of the economy will suffer the most. But put this into perspective. We already know that a lot of bad things will happen in the future. For example, there will always be earthquakes. The Middle East will be a constant source of turmoil. Airplanes will crash. And Jimmy Fallon will retire one day.
You get the idea. Make no mistake, recessions are awful things. They dislocate people from their jobs and spread economic suffering. But they are a reliable fact of life and those of us who run organizations must prepare for these kinds of setbacks at all times. Part of that ...