Summary of The Most Important Least-Noticed Economic Event of the Decade

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Many people in the United States in 2015 and 2016 were unaware that a “mini-recession” was going on at the time. Back then, emerging markets were weakening, the US dollar was strengthening and commodity prices were falling, stifling the US agricultural, energy and related manufacturing sectors. But according to financial journalist Neil Irwin in this astute analysis, then-Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen did notice it, and she acted to avoid turning an isolated contraction into a more widespread recession. Readers will find this a revealing look inside the Fed’s thinking.

About the Author

Neil Irwin is an author and a senior economics correspondent for The New York Times.



Most people usually know right away when a recessions hits their economy, but not in the United States in 2015 and 2016. At that time, a contained “mini-recession” was running its course. Most Americans were blissfully unaware of the downturn, mainly because the overall economy kept expanding, albeit more slowly, and the jobless rate continued to drop. The slump started when Chinese leaders, worried about a credit bubble, moved to tamp down growth, which in turn prompted an economic slowdown in China and among its trade counterparties in the emerging markets. At the same time, the Federal...

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