As one of the largest banks in the United States, JP Morgan, enjoys its fair share of the limelight. Yet, many believe a desire for more publicity must be the company’s reason behind its recession tracker. The company’s economists recently announced the tracker shows a 36 percent chance of America entering yet another economic recession.
Known for its particular love of all things negative and controversial, the media – and the public at large – has spun several stories around this prediction. What many economists know but do not always share is that creating fear about a recession often creates a recession, as the things people do to prepare for one, may propel an economy into that state.
JP Morgan’s announcement came after the release of information showing that less than 40,000 jobs had been added to the market. The economists also looked at the decline in manufacturing jobs, which is similar to past periods in America that later led to an economic recession.
However, what the economists failed to either mention or keep in mind is that America’s economy is no longer fueled by manufacturing, as it was in the past. Manufacturing is now the engine of countries like China, and India. Thus, using this as a basis for the possibility of a recession in America seems sketchy.
To many, the announcement seems little more than a cry for attention and a moment in the spotlight. Others catch a hint of fear-mongering.
After dealing with the recession of 2008, and only recently recovering from the harsh economic blows, many Americans fear a recurrence of what happened before. And weakened by war, the outsourcing of jobs, and a failing immigrations system, America is taking quite some time to recover.
Bad Reflection on PR as a Field
This reflects poorly on public relations as a field and corporate businesses. It implies that corporations will come up with anything to get in the media and that their hired PR experts help them do it, even if it involves instilling fear in the population. While this is certainly something PR experts can do – and have done in the past, especially in politics – it does not represent ethical practices in PR.
Unfortunately, just like law, public relations as a field has become guilty by association with corporations who do not always use their influence responsibly.
The truth is America may or may not enter a recession 12 months from now. There is probably even some likelihood that this recession tracker is an honest attempt at predicting and informing the masses of impending economic doom.
However, such claims – especially when coming from a worldwide financial institution – should come with solid evidence in the form of a research paper or published study before sending the media, and in turn the public, into panic over a 36 percent chance of another recession.