Other than the fact that 20 states indicating recession is very bad news, the most important takeaway from this chart is that only once during the past 30 years have 20 states indicated recession and the country not fallen into recession. That was late 2001-2002, when the economy took a minor tumble after 9/11, which briefly derailed the recovery from the post-tech bubble crash. At the time, the Fed hadn't shot all of its bullets (it hadn't even begun to overstimulate the mortgage market), and the world wasn't mired in a 5 year economic depression. (China's economy is crashing, and some Eurozone members have already fallen back into recession.) As Marc Faber famously said, there is a 100% chance of recession for 2013.