After a summer of panic, fears of a U.S. recession ease a bit

“How likely is it that there’s a recession on the horizon? … I don’t see one being imminent, unless we talk ourselves into one,” said Tom Barkin, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, in a speech Tuesday.

Like many, Barkin said he sees less risk now than he did at the end of the summer.

He pointed to slightly more optimistic news on U.S.-China trade negotiations and Brexit, which is the effort for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union.

He also flagged the ongoing resilience of U.S. consumers, who have continued to spend even as businesses have dramatically scaled back in the face of political and trade uncertainty. Business investment has contracted for two straight quarters, a drag on growth now — and possibly in the future since spending on new technology and equipment typically spurs faster production for years to come.