Do women planning families know something economists dont?
The U.S. birth rate has reached a 30-year low, and, according to a recent study, that could signal a looming recession.
A February 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. The Great Recession of 2008-2009 was one of the sharpest since the economic depression of 1930s.
Also see: Why Western men have suffered a 50% decline in sperm count over four decades
In the study, Is Fertility a Leading Economic Indicator?, circulated on Feb. 26 by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a trio of authors found that over the past 30 years, conceptions fell at the same time or even before other indicators whenever a recession was about to start.
For example, conceptions peaked in 1998 and 2006, well in advance of recessions and the large declin