America Employed

  • Recession Poll: Overwhelming Majority of Businesses Don’t See One Soon

    OKLAHOMA CITY - September 25, 2019



    • Recession Poll: Overwhelming Majority of Businesses Don't See One Soon

    • "There is still a lot of gas in the U.S. economy."

    • Express Experts Weigh in on Tariffs and Fears of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy



    An overwhelming majority of business leaders surveyed in a new Express Employment Professionals poll don't expect a recession within the next six months, despite increased media focus on the possibility of an upcoming downturn.

    In the survey, just 4% expect a recession in the next three months, while 14% expect one in three to six months. Nearly one-third (31%) predict a recession in six months to one year.

    More than one-third (36%) expect a recession in one year, and 41% say a recession is likely two years away.

    Q4 Outlook





    Compared to the last quarterly survey, slightly more respondents now expect a recession in less than two years.

    Q3 Outlook





    In addition, only 5% of respondents say they live in an area that is currently in recession. 





    Express Employment Professionals franchise owners warn that fear of a recession may actually be what triggers one. 

    "In a consumer driven economy, recessions can be a self-fulfilling prophecy," said Brian Baker, a franchise owner in Portland, Oregon. "If you expect a downturn, you stop spending and investing. When enough people stop spending, the economy suffers."

    Reid Bates, a franchise owner of Express offices in Olympia, Centralia and Aberdeen, Washington, shares this concern.

    "The worry is that talk of a recession will lead to a drop in consumer spending and business investment," he said. "There is still a lot of gas in the U.S. economy. Employment is high, and wages are climbing. I fear the hype is going to squash consumer confidence."

    Brandon Malloy, a senior staffing consultant in the McMinnville, Oregon, Express office, isn't seeing signs of recession yet.

    "We are not worried in our territory," he said. "The last recession was preceded by most of our lumber mill clients slowing down significantly, then our steel mill did a large layoff. This was 14 months before the recession was actually here. We continue to see endless positions posted locally and a competitive recruiting market between the mills. I see our territory staying strong through the election cycle in 2020."

    John Dickey, an Express franchise owner in Wakefield, Massachusetts, isn't so sure.

    "Tariffs are affecting our customers daily, and they are holding off on adding additional headcount in order to keep their costs as low as possible," he said. "The job numbers also are decreasing every month. But the most noticeable sign is the manufacturing index that has dropped below 50."

    Tracy Underwood, an Express Oklahoma regional director, says the recession fears are "justified because of the common signs," including "interest rates cut, a slower global economy and the trade war threat, to name a few."

    Jan Riggins, general manager of two Forth Worth, Texas, Express franchise locations, recognizes the trade concerns but predicts a strong economy.

    "The tariff war with China is a new thing that we've never experienced before," she said "I think we are seeing the effects of it bleed a little through the economy. Overall, I think 2020 will be a good year."

    "The people we talk to don't see a recession any time soon," said Bill Stoller, CEO of Express. "There are some signs of an overall slowing of the economy-but a slowdown and a recession are two different things. Right now, the job market is strong. So, the most important thing is not to let our fears launch a recession."

    About the Survey

    In August 2019, Express Employment Professionals surveyed 802 business owners, decision makers and human resource professionals about the overall national hiring trends in the market today and how their business is impacted. Respondents are current or former Express clients.


    If you would like to arrange for an interview with Bill Stoller to discuss this topic, please contact Sheena Karami, Director of Corporate Communications and PR, at (405) 717-5966.

    About Bill Stoller

    William H. "Bill" Stoller is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has more than 800 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Since its inception, Express has put more than 7.7 million people to work worldwide.

    About Express Employment Professionals

    Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated $3.56 billion in sales and employed a record 566,000 people in 2018. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually. For more information, visit