Double-Dip Unlikely, Rates to Stay Low: Cohen

The economy almost certainly will not re-enter a recession but grow slowly in the years ahead, keeping interest rates low and markets subject to rapid change, Goldman Sachs analyst Abby Joseph Cohen told CNBC.

Abby Joseph Cohen
Abby Joseph Cohen

"Our sense is that a double-dip, while it can't be ruled out, is extremely unlikely," said Cohen, president of Goldman's Global Markets Institute. "Our sense is that we are in a period of slow growth but not another recession, a double-dip not the most likely scenario."

Double-dips are rare, Cohen pointed out, adding that the last one happened in the early 1980s and essentially was planned by then-Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who sought to defeat inflation by driving interest rates higher and tightening money supply.

Rates, though, are likely to stay low for the foreseeable future as the economy struggles to recover.

Indeed, the first recession isn't even technically over as measured by the National Bureau of Economic Research, considered the arbiter of economic terminology.

Cohen said inflation is a long-run possibility should the Fed should choose inflation as a way for the US to work its way out of a $14 trillion-and-growing debt.

For investors, that will mean tough choices in the area of fixed income, which languishes when interest rates rise.

Cohen suggested investors look toward corporate bonds with "incremental yields" over Treasurys, which have come off extremely low levelsin the recent days.

As the US works its way out of a deep economic hole, Cohen said President Obama should focus on education as the long-run solution.

"The most important issue today has to be jobs, and not just the current job-creation slowdown that we have but rather on a longer-term basis," she said. "Let's be honest with ourselves and recognize there were problems developing in the labor market even before the credit crisis and the recession."