The Tell: Declining fertility rate may predict the next recession

Do women planning families know something economists don’t?

A new study into fertility and birth rates found that people in the U.S. cut down on baby-making decisions well in advance of recessions — almost as though anticipating them.

The fact that people postpone expanding their families during recessions is well documented in academic research and not at all surprising, given how much job losses impact such decisions. But the study by University of Notre Dame economists found that conceptions, which start declining months before a recession, could be used as a valid leading indicator.

A recession is defined as two or more consecutive quarters of declines in the gross domestic product and due to inaccuracies of data reporting and revisions is only confirmed after the fact.

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