Talk about a poisoned chalice. No matter who is elected to theWhite House in November, the next president will probably face arecession.

The 83-month-old expansion is already the fourth-longest in morethan 150 years and starting to show some signs of aging ascorporate profits peak and wage pressures build. It also remainsvulnerable to a shock because growth has been so feeble, averagingjust about 2 percent since the last downturn ended in June2009.

"If the next president is not going to have a recession, it willbe a U.S. record," said Gad Levanon, chief economist for NorthAmerica at the Conference Board in New York. "The longest expansionwe ever had was 10 years," beginning in 1991.

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