A stock market in seeming free fall, flagging consumer confidence and the lengthy recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-09 all point toward another recession… perhaps in 2019 or 2020.

The Christmas Eve stock market declines were not encouraging. The Dow’s plunge on Monday of 2.91% and the S&P 500’s shedding of 2.71% marked the biggest Christmas Eve declines in the two indices’ history. A week ago, stocks had their worst week since the Great Recession. The market last suffered such massive December losses in 1931, during the Depression.

A recession is generally defined as any period in which the gross domestic product (GDP) falls for two consecutive quarters. That, of course, implies a slowing before the actual declines. Consumer spending falls, companies tighten spending, jobs are lost.

Is a recession easily predictable? In December of 2007, a CNBC analyst said, “There’s no recession coming. It’s not going to happen.” Weeks later, the largest economic downturn since the Depression began. That analyst was Larry Kudlow, now director of the National Economic Council and a close adviser to President Donald J. Trump.