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Our 'Rolling Recession' Is the Latest Economic Meme — But What Does It Actually Mean? We may not be in for a "hard" or "soft" landing.

By Amanda Breen

entrepreneur daily
Khanchit Khirisutchalual | Getty Images

When the economy takes a turn for the worse, we generally consider the landing "hard" or "soft" — in other words, we expect a quick catastrophe with millions of jobs lost or a gradual slowdown as inflation stalls.

But neither of those scenarios quite captures what's going on in the U.S. today. Instead, we're in what some people are calling a "rolling recession," a hybrid of sorts where industries contract on an alternating basis and the job market remains steady, Bloomberg reported.

Related: Are We Headed for a Recession? It's Complicated.

Despite mass tech layoffs dominating headlines since the end of last year, the job market as a whole has held firm with low unemployment and relatively fast-rising wages, per CNBC. What's more, 517,000 jobs were added in January alone, according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although a "rolling recession" might not explain all of the economic ups and downs, it tracks with the pattern of various industry contractions.

Housing was first amid rapidly rising interest rates; manufacturing followed as demands for goods shrank and services grew; and now tech, which saw more than 97,000 job cuts since the end of 2022, is taking the hit, per Bloomberg.

Related: Worried About a Recession? Do This to Prepare Your Company.

But this isn't the first time we've been in a "rolling recession." Veteran financial market analyst Ed Yardeni told the outlet he remembers using the term in the mid-1980s during a collapse in energy prices and turmoil in commercial real estate, and 2016 saw another soft patch as well.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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