In January, University of Montana economist Patrick Barkey went on a statewide tour and told audiences that he and others in his field believed Montana was likely headed for a recession in 2023. Economists all over the U.S. and the world were predicting an eventual recession at the time as the Federal Reserve kept raising interest rates — making borrowing money and doing business in general more expensive — to try to stave off inflation.
Roughly six months later, Barkey is on another seven-city tour of Montana to present some data on why many economic forecasts got it wrong. He stopped in Missoula on Thursday for the last stop in the Bureau of Business and Economic Research’s mid-year economic update. Barkey is the director of the Bureau.
“Winston Churchill once described Russia as a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” Barkey told a crowd. “Now, the mid-year economy is not quite that mysterious, but there are some definitely puzzling things going on in the economy. Most of us don’t care because it’s been good news. By and large, the recession has largely disappeared. The thought that the economy would be in recession now is being revised as we speak.”