The economy has never been "predictable", if it were, anyone could "time" the market and adjust. When was the last time that happend?
Don't confuse micro with macro. You can't predict [micro] specific timing on any market. On the other hand, macro economists have been using predictive models for decades to guide the ebb and flow of everything from seasonal production schedules to hedging of raw materials for manufacturing.
When economists look at normal economic cycles [those regular sine waves, or ebbs and flows of business] that span months, years and decades they understand those changes. The reason we give special names to the BIG SPIKES, both up and down, is that they don't fit into normal economic cycles AND are extraordinary in that they change lifestyle/business models with their occurrences. We call them "The Great Depression" [Oct 1929], "Black Monday" [the 1987 Crash], "Lost Decade" [Nikkei, 1990], "Dot.Com Bubble" [March 2000].
This economic event occurring in the US right now has all the elements to mirror the "Lost Decade" scenario that Japan experienced from the bursting of their economic bubble in 1990 to current. It does not follow normal ebb and flow cyclic economic patterns, it redefines their boundaries.