7 Billionaires Who Say a Recession Is Imminent

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Mark Zuckerberg
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The debate continues about whether the U.S. is currently in a recession. What seems beyond argument, however, is that several of the world’s richest people believe that if a downturn hasn’t yet arrived, it is almost inevitable within the next year.

Although the U.S. recently had two consecutive quarters of negative growth in its gross domestic product — which is how many traditionally define a recession — some economists and politicians say that this time things are different and that the economy has not yet officially slipped backward.

But several billionaires are ringing alarm bells, predicting that a downturn is right around the corner.

Following are some of the richest people in the world who say a recession is more likely than not.

1. Jamie Dimon

J.M. Morgan Chase & Co.
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Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, has issued a warning to “brace yourself” for a major economic mess.

At a financial conference earlier this summer, Dimon said he initially saw “storm clouds” on the horizon. Then, as inflation grew worse and the price of food and fuel rose, he changed his forecast to a “hurricane.”

“Right now, it’s kind of sunny, things are doing fine, everyone thinks the Fed can handle this. (But) that hurricane is right out there, down the road, coming our way.”

2. Mark Zuckerberg

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Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook parent company Meta, has warned of an impending recession.

In a Q&A session with company employees, Zuckerberg predicted the recession will likely be “one of the worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history,” according to Reuters, which has heard an audio recording of the response.

3. Leon Cooperman

Bull and bear
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Hedge-fund investor Leon Cooperman believes that the economy will fall into a recession next year and that the stock market will suffer as result.

Cooperman is predicting that stocks will be down 40% when all is said and done. He told CNBC:

“I think we’re going to go through a prolonged period of low returns as we try to right the ship.”

4. Elon Musk

Elon Musk
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Elon Musk — the world’s richest man and the CEO of Tesla — said at the Qatar Economic Forum earlier this summer that a recession is “inevitable at some point.”

He added that a downturn is “more likely than not” in the coming months. Musk’s comments echoed those of an email he had sent to Tesla executives previously, in which he said he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy.

5. Carl Icahn

Icahn Enterprises
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Famed investor Carl Icahn expects that factors such as inflation and the war in Ukraine will leave the economy in a dark place. The founder of the holding company Icahn Enterprises told CNBC:

“I think there very well could be a recession or even worse. The system needs fixing. There’s no accountability in corporate America. You have some very fine companies, some very fine CEOs, but far too many that are not up to the task that I think is going to be necessitated.”

6. Bill Gates

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In the spring, Microsoft founder Bill Gates said a combination of the war in Ukraine and fallout from the pandemic made for a “strong argument” that tough economic times were on the horizon.

Although Gates didn’t outright predict a recession, he did forecast at least an “economic slowdown.” Gates told CNN:

“I’m afraid the bears on this one have a pretty strong argument that concerns me a lot.”

7. Ken Griffin

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Ken Griffin is hedging his bets on whether a recession is in the offing.

The billionaire founder of the hedge fund Citadel says that if the Federal Reserve can reduce inflation to around 4%, the country may be able to avoid a downturn.

On the other hand, if inflation remains north of 8%, the Fed “will have to the hit brakes pretty hard,” and a recession is likely, Griffin says.