The U.S. is seeing an economic indicator that has come before every recession over the last 50 years, but an Ohio Northern professor says there's no need for alarm.

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The country has been looking at what is called a yield curve inversion for the last three months - that means that long term interest rates are paying out less than short term rates. This is a trend that has preceded an economic recession for the last half-century. Dr. John Navin, Dean of Economics at Ohio Northern University, says that the length of the inversion is unusual, but with the current state of the economy, he doesn't believe that a recession is necessarily right around the corner.

"Right now the economy is pretty strong, it's pretty solid, but you never know - part of this could be a self-fulfilling prophecy, that is, if people know that or think that we're heading towards a recession, then they pull back on their spending, and companies may stop investing," Navin said. "If that's the case, then maybe [we'll see a recession]. But it's not going to happen overnight; it's a long-term process."

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Navin added that the curve could start seeing an upward trend again because of a variety of reasons, including interest rates changing.

"There are a lot of things that can affect the interest rate - so the Federal Reserve can affect interest rates, they can affect short-term, and if they cut them, then all of a sudden the yield curve goes right back to where it was before, it becomes upward sloping," Navin said. "It's not a time to panic, but it is unusual, it's not something that you see every day."

There must be an eight-month span of declining economic growth before the country can be considered to be in a recession.

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