If it were about age, 40-somethings would cringe. But it seems a dead certainty that 40 now means 50 -- or even higher -- when it comes to predicting the chances of a recession taking place.
Going by past Reuters polls of economists, every time the probability hits 40 percent, the recession's already started or is perilously close to doing so.
After the brief recovery period from the Great Recession, Reuters once again started surveying economists several months ago on the chances of developed economies stumbling back into the muck.
As the data get nastier and euro zone politicians wrangle over the sovereign debt mess, the probability goes higher. Just not high enough or fast enough.
The probability that Britain slides back into recession hit 40 percent in the Reuters poll this week, up from one in three last month.