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Yesterday, Fed chair Jerome Powell in his post-Fed-meeting press conference said that a recession in 2023 isn’t inevitable. Growth will stay positive next year, he continued, although “it’s not going to feel like a boom.”

How much isn’t it going to feel like a boom? The Fed’s Dot Plot projections, updated for this meeting, predict 0.5% growth in U.S. GDP for 2023. That’s down from the 1.2% growth projected in the September Dot Plot. In 2024, the Fed said, growth will speed up to 1.6%, still not exactly a boom. In September the Fed projected 1.7% growth for 2024.

And it will feel like a recession to many people. The Fed is looking for unemployment to rise to 4.6% in 2023 and to stay at that rate in 2024.

With consumers running up significant credit card debt now, I’m not expecting robust retail sales in the year ahead.

Stocks today didn’t like the reminder that Goldilocks is a fairy tale. It’s really tough to push growth down to beat back inflation and not get growth so low that its effects ripple through the economy.

As of the close in New York today, December 15, the Standard & Poor’s 500 is down a big 2.55% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is off 2.46%. The NASDAQ Composite has tumbled 3.23% and the NASDAQ 100 is down 3.37%