Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reckons the U.S. economy can skirt recession. But the odds are stacked against him — thanks to banking, politics, and even the weather.

In Powell’s view, the gravity-defying strength of American labor markets — on display again in jobs data published Friday, which showed a bumper increase last month — is smoothing the way for a soft landing, even after 5 percentage points of interest-rate hikes in little over a year.

"It’s possible that this time is really different,” the Fed chief told reporters last week after raising rates for a tenth straight time.