Is a recession on the way? Virginia's top financial officer thinks so.

By Keya Vakil

August 19, 2019

Virginia’s secretary of finance Aubrey Layne is preparing for a recession, telling the Virginia Mercury that he believes a recession in the next 12 to 18 months is “more likely than not.” 

Layne said the state is monitoring a potential recession and said at the very least, we should expect a significant slowing of growth. “I see those signs coming…We saw stock and bond markets react significantly this week,” Layne told the Mercury on Friday.

Layne’s statements came after the Dow plunged more than 800 points last Wednesday amid a bond market warning that the U.S. might be hurtling toward a recession.

The Dow has since recovered most of its losses, but Layne still believes the signs of a recession are present, and placed part of the blame at the door of Donald Trump and his trade war with China, which he said has caused markets to move in the wrong direction. 

Should the United States experience a recession, Virginia would feel the effects of it more than most states due to its reliance on federal spending. “Virginia is exposed to changes in trade policy given our dependence on defense and other types of federal government spending,” Robert McNab, an economics professor at Old Dominion University, told the Mercury. 

Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads could bear the brunt of a recession, as the regions have significant populations of federal government employees and contractors. The effects on those regions could then ripple across the state, affecting businesses and individuals across the Commonwealth.

McNab predicted a recession would begin between late 2019 and mid-2020 and also cited the Trump administration’s inconsistent trade policy as a cause of market troubles. “One thing markets and businesses hate is uncertainty,” McNab said.

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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