The US Economy is Fine Now, But Watch Out for 2020

Rusty Tweed

Rusty Tweed

According to Paul Ashworth, who serves in the Capital Economics as the chief U.S economist and also the winner of March Forecaster of the Month award, he mentioned that the current status of the U.S economy is doing well, but as the next few years comes by, the stimulus is going to start fading away.

Mr. Ashworth added that his team was optimistic about America’s stability, and they assumed for such a long time that Washington’s United Republican government would bring about a good amount of stimulus, which happened and they were right. The move to cut taxes and end the spending restraint has given the economy of the U.S a great boost to survive the next two years.

What is in store for the U.S economy 2019 and 2020

After the next two years, what is going to happen? Ashworth stated,” There is a growing concern that the fiscal stimulus is fading, and this is bringing about a major concern.” For 2019 and 2020, Ashworth is expecting these years to be weaker because the Federal Reserve is expected to cut the country’s interest rates in 2020.

According to Ashworth and his team, they see that the economic projections of the Federal Reserve are optimistic at growing way above the trend up to the year 2020. This projection seems to be too far-fetched if you ask Micheal Pearce who is a senior U.S economist. He continued to share his sentiments on how the fiscal stimulus will send a boost to spending and incomes for one final time, unless the economy finds a new source of supply capacity to grow the economy; otherwise, growth will start to drop.

What is expected to happen after 2020

According to economists, they expect a modest downturn in the economy which should be reversed quickly after 2020, because the expansion will take some time to end. But by the time the downturn will be ending, the U.S economy will have undergone the longest expansion in its history.

Ashworth advises that people should think about what is going to happen in the next downturn. Although they expect it to stay for a relatively short time, it won’t be as damaging as the great recession that occurred in the year 2008-2009.

Some of the reasons that might cause the economic downturn

There is a premise that Ashworth does not accept. The premise involves how the Republican fiscal plan revolves around the supply-side economics that assumes businesses have for the longest time been holding back on investing in new supply because of high taxes and regulations.

Ashworth’s argument is related to how countries that had low corporate tax never see an economic boom in their investment afterward. He added that the U.S is known to raise its capital spending because supply is starting to hinder growth, and not because companies have been set free.

There is also the issue of the trade war that is going on between the U.S and China. This kind of talk is great for politics but is bad for economics. But will be seen in the next few months is the U.S government accepting some small concessions and reign supreme on the trade wars; the same way South Korea’s case was handled and is also expected to happen with NAFTA negotiations.

The Future of the U.S Economy for the years to come

Since the Trump Administration took power, he created a positive economic sentiment that was also taken by the Republican majorities. Trump’s administration pledged that they would pursue the reform, tax cuts and policy trifecta of deregulation.

What is known is that sentiment usually goes both ways. Just like the pro-business way that Trump is using can boost the confidence of the economy, the perception of leader who is not-for-business can bring down the confidence. Since sentiments influence the behavior of people, their impact is far-reaching. But the sentiment is not a great way to measure the actual economic prospects and development.

So far, when you look at the market’s reaction to Trump’s victory, there has seen a rise in stocks to multiple highs, but that has not been the case on “hard data.” Economic forecasters have only made some modest increase in their projections.

If the confidence in the US economy does not trickle down to hard data, expectations that are not met on corporate earnings and economic growth could cause the sentiment of the financial market to slow down, which will fuel market volatility and shoot down asset prices. This scenario will sputter the US engine to cause the global economy to slow down, especially if these scenarios cause the Trump administration to come up with protectionist measures.

Looming “Debt Hangover” Will Crush The Economy

Rusty Tweed

Rusty Tweed

A time will come when the U.S will inevitably have a debt hangover, it may not be the coming week or next month, but it will soon come. The continued effects of continued lowering of the tax-revenue, government spending, always-increasing interest payments, and increasing compulsory welfare payments will soon be felt, and that is a feeling that will not be a pleasant one.

How we got here

The current national U.S debt that is publicly held is 75% of the GDP. Although that number can be shocking to the average citizen, to economists, they see this number as a good figure. Before the recession of 2008, the national public debt in the U.S was at 35% of the GDP. Over the last decade, the debt has grown by 40%. Why is that the case?

The answer lies in government spending. The U.S government decided that the only way to get out of the recession was to spend. This was championed by the Federal Reserve and a handful of economists who encouraged monetary and fiscal authorities to continue deficit spending and issue more debt to institutions and individuals or borrow in order to spend. That decision worked, but some people argue that there was not enough money that has been spent.

The impact of debt hangover in the U.S economy

Currently, the U.S is undergoing low unemployment rates and a long period of growth that has never been seen in the history of the country. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it was highlighted that by the year 2047, while maintaining the same trend of fiscal policy, the U.S debt ratio will linger around 150% of the GDP. Imagine what is happening between Italy and Greece happening in the U.S; that is how bad the situation can get for the U.S.

The World Bank has put up estimates that every percentage point that goes above the debt to GDP ratio of 77% would lead to a decline in the annual growth by 17 basis points. This can translate to a loss of 12% of the growth of GDP in the next 30 years. Looking at it in another perspective, it would mean that the U.S economy will have stopped growing for over four years.

If you think that is the only consequence of the existing fiscal policy, you are wrong. The flexibility that Congress has on implementing expansionary fiscal policy in economic downturns will be less. Investors will be in need of higher rates of interest to be able to invest in an economy that is increasingly becoming volatile.

When the cycle of net interest payment increases and higher interest rates are resent, the result will be a net interest payment that will eclipse other major spending programs by 2047. If we decide to look at Medicare and Social Security, it will require large investments to keep the short-term solvency.

What the economists say

There are economists who argue that if the economy could be spurred faster than the compounding interest payments, and it ignores entitlement programs, then things would be okay. But spending is not the issue; the problem rests on the revenue and the GOP tax plans which do not help.

The GOP tax plan economics is not hard. When you talk to the Keynesian economists, they would argue that the tax cuts spur economic growth and stimulate the economy. But most of the economists are not supporting the tax plan and the basis behind it, especially when you look at the current economic status. Cutting taxes is not something that is needed at this time.

Most economists believe that the lack of tax revenue will increase the chances of a financial crisis. Estimates by the Dynamic CBO propose that the growth of the GDP due to tax cuts will be dismal and will be below the required levels that are to mitigate the impact of an increased portion of the U.S national debt to GDP.

At the moment, the U.S government is not armed with the right tools to deal with the debt hangover that is looming. Within the next decade, the economy will still maintain the healthy standards. The U.S will not be bothered by the impacts of the existing fiscal policy until the time when it is too late.

The GOP tax plan consequences should not be understated, and it was not only the tax plan that placed the U.S in this state. There needs to be an implementation of reforms that will alleviate the impending consequences of the existing fiscal policy. But sadly, the changes in policy that are needed do not appeal politically.

Revenue needs to be raised by the Congress, and spending should be cut without impacting Medicare and Social Security. There are a number of options that the CBO provides, and they are 115 in total. These options are meant to control discretionary and mandatory spending and stimulate revenue.

Current Market Indications Point to Potentially Robust Economic Growth in 2018

It has been nearly a decade since the end of the Great Recession. After such a lengthy period of recovery, there are now signs that the US economy is finally poised to experience robust growth throughout 2018. Perhaps most importantly, current market trends have economists especially optimistic about the possibility of pervasive growth, with many analysts expecting a significant acceleration in wage gains.

During the long period of economic recovery that began in 2009, the US economy posted an average growth of 2.1 percent, with 2.9 percent (2015) representing the high-water mark. Due to the expectation of continued business investment and rising consumer spending, analysts are projecting a 2.6 percent rate of growth for 2018, an increase of 0.3 percent from the 2017 projection (2.3 percent). Since the 2018 projection was made prior to the passage of tax legislation, it’s reasonable to conclude that the 2.6 percent figure might approach a full 3 percent.

Of course, these projections never rely on any single market indicator, and a number of recent developments have contributed to the optimistic economic projections for the year ahead. Consumer demand for automobiles, combined with continued technological innovation as well as the recent rally in oil production, has been instrumental in the recovery experienced in the manufacturing sector. With the global economy also growing stronger, other sectors in the US have enjoyed significant benefits as well.

These recent domestic and international gains continue to play an important role in the declining unemployment rate in the United States. At 4.1 percent, the nation’s unemployment rate is the lowest posted in the aftermath of the Great Recession, when the unemployment rate reached 10 percent in 2009 (prior to 2009, it hadn’t eclipsed 10 percent since 1983).

Even at the current rate of 4.1 percent, analysts tend to agree that the downward trend will continue in 2018. This is good news for American workers, as employers will be forced to compete for new hires and will likely adopt stronger policies intended to retain current employees. Employers will also have to seriously consider instituting robust training programs to help fill existing vacancies, which will give American workers the opportunity to expand their skill set without investing in potentially costly academic programs or vocational schools.

It’s these conditions — an ever-tightening labor market at a time when companies have immediate and expanding employment needs — that have economists confident that wage growth with finally experience significant gains after stagnating for nearly a decade. According to current projections, analysts are predicting an increase of 2.5 percent for 2018, with gains growing stronger with each passing month until finally exceeding 3 percent at year’s close.

When wage growth rises at a rate approaching 3 percent, it’s only natural to expect a commensurate increase in consumer spending, which is responsible for approximately 70 percent of the US economy. Consumer spending is expected to increase at a rate of 2.5 percent, and business investment is projected to grow at a rate of anywhere from 4.5 percent to 6 percent or more.

The recent tax legislation is expected to further bolster these projections, although it remains possible that the overwhelming majority of corporations will opt to use the tax cuts to increase dividends or buy back stock rather than investing in employees by increasing wages or expanding benefits.

Although the full economic impact of the recently passed tax cut legislation remains to be seen, economists recognize ample reason for optimism about the possibility of economic growth in the year 2018. The most recent projections for economic growth are supported by a number of critical market indicators, including declining unemployment rates, increasing wage gains, and the likelihood of increased business investment, all of which contribute to the growing confidence in the future of the US economy.

An Objective Look at the Potential Impact of Incremental Changes Planned by Federal Reserve

Circumstances in which the Federal Reserve announces a planned increase in short-term interest rates along with the reduction of mortgage-backed securities and Treasury bonds typically serve as an indication of a tighter approach to monetary policy. Even so, the recent announcement from Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen –- which featured the usual conditions associated with a tightening of the monetary policy –- outlined changes so incremental that the typical policy classification cannot be credibly applied in this instance.

Approximately nine years of monetary policy marked by the process of quantitative easing enabled the lower interest rates aligned with a period of sustained economic expansion across the globe. This period of expansion, of course, was preceded by a financial crisis that emerged out of the housing bubble and a relatively loose monetary policy. Arguments over the influence of the monetary policy tend to vary rather widely, but there are many who firmly believe that an earlier tightening of the monetary policy would have discouraged the borrowing that ultimately led to the housing bubble.

Nearly a decade later, those same arguments are being made in favor of a tightened monetary policy intended to ensure sustained economic growth rather than another downturn. Since many economic opinions closely align with one’s place on the political spectrum — which does not mean that the opinion is thus invalid or based on anything but sound reasoning — it’s important to remember the importance of objective economic analyses that take a wide range of issues into account to determine whether a particular action concerning the monetary policy will ultimately achieve its intended outcome.

The current state of the economy features businesses and households with fairly significant debt. An increase in the short-term interest rate, however incremental, might have a far greater impact on borrowers nationwide. With such widespread debt among American businesses and households, an interest rate hike could leave the Federal Reserve relatively helpless if the economy is suddenly dealing with another downturn. Legislators would likewise encounter difficulties in attempting to mitigate the consequences of another recession.

This is not to say that the Fed’s decision to change course — however slowly the change occurs — toward a tightened monetary policy will trigger a downturn; instead, it is important that policymakers take actions based on well-reasoned analyses that take into account the full breadth of factors that influence economic strength.

Thankfully, a reasoned approach to monetary policy is one of the areas in which ideology does not prevail over logic and reason. In fact, both The Roosevelt Institute and The National Review, bastions of liberal and conservative thought, have expressed a clear preference for a looser approach to monetary policy.

Even several prominent far-right politicians (including Ted Cruz, for instance) have gone on the record to say that the Fed’s recent approach, despite being regarded as loose by the majority of economists, inhibited economic growth in the aftermath of the recession because — in almost diametric opposition to conservative orthodoxy – the Fed’s monetary policy was not loose enough.

Keen observers of the decisions and debates surrounding economic policymaking should be heartened by the fact that the mistakes of the past are being heeded as the Fed takes steps toward tightening the monetary policy. That fact alone bodes well for a sustained period of economic growth.

How Will Labor Market and Job Creation Rate Influence Commercial Real Estate Projections?

Despite widespread job openings now totaling well in excess of 6 million, a lack of skilled labor possessing the qualifications needed to fulfill the responsibilities required of those openings is likely to have a far-reaching impact on the health of the labor market as well as job creation — not to mention the potential effect on the commercial real estate sector’s outlook.

With unemployment reaching its lowest percentage (4.3 percent) in more than 16 years, along with more than 80 consecutive months of positive economic gains — and an economy close to, if not already at, full employment — it is clear that the outlook for the commercial real estate sector will continue to be linked to the overall economic growth rate as well as the rate of job creation.

The positive economic indicators have inspired a greater level of confidence from members of the workforce, including those previously wary — whether warranted or not — of the potential for a sudden backslide into economic instability. Since this newfound confidence is especially apparent among the demographic of young workers still likely to be living at home with their parents, the sustained strength of the labor market is expected to have a positive influence on apartment absorption.

Due to a strong sense of confidence and stability in the economy, the youngest generation of workers is increasingly looking to rent an apartment for the first time. Although the workforce is showing indications pointing to greater levels of confidence in the strength and stability of economy, the lack of skilled workers has still had a limiting effect on new job creation.

Even though job creation numbers may be experiencing the adverse effects of a tight labor market, there is reason to believe that, despite the adverse impact, the commercial real estate market will benefit nonetheless. This optimism can be attributed to the fact that despite a substantial shortage of skilled workers to fill open positions, demand for commercial real estate currently exceeds the pace of construction.

Of course, it is fair to wonder why commercial real estate demand is still on the rise in the midst of a labor shortage in which 6 million open positions remain unfilled. This is because certain companies, including those in the professional, business, and financial services employment sectors, have adopted a recruiting strategy revolving around recent graduates for positions requiring the use of office space. Even in an economy currently enduring a significant labor shortage, the jobs created by these companies alone have spurred increases in demand for commercial office space.

It’s worth noting that the economy has not entirely avoided the drawbacks that typically accompany a labor shortage of 6 million or more, as top-line growth has undoubtedly been limited by the inability of American businesses to fill open positions with skilled workers. As it stands now, however, the labor shortage might not necessarily hinder the current rate of economic momentum. After all, the income gains associated with a 4.3 percent unemployment rate and an 8.4 percent underemployment rate — which is the lowest in the past decade — should continue to have a positive impact on economic consumption for the foreseeable future.