McNair Monthly Economic outlook

Northwood University's McNair Center prepares a monthly economic outlook report which analyzes key data and makes predictions about the United States economic landscape. 

 
 

September/October 2018 Outlook

The U.S. economy ended the month of September and entered October in an overall strong position.  Concern over an erratic stock market is looming large again in October with increasing interest rates playing a major contributing role in the decline of automobile and new and existing home sales.  Higher interest rates also seem to be overpowering the benefits of greater take home pay from tax cuts adversely raising effective interest costs on related consumer purchases.

August/September 2018 Outlook

The U.S. economy continued to show signs of economic strength and growth during August and into early September. While the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) posted its revised GDP figures for the second quarter of 2018, which was up from 4.1 percent to 4.2 percent, added to bullish optimism in the U.S. economy in the first half of 2018. The revised figure makes Q2 2018 one of the best single quarters for economic growth in more than a decade and caps off a four-quarter back-to-back average GDP growth rate of 3.15 percent.

July/August 2018 Outlook

The month of July marked the beginning of the third quarter for the U.S. economy in 2018.  Over the last year U.S. GDP growth has been very impressive relative to the past 10 years.  The second half of 2017 saw U.S. GDP grow at 3.0 percent in the third quarter and 3.1 percent for the fourth quarter.  The first half of 2018 has been equally impressive with first quarter U.S. GDP growing at 2.2 percent and second quarter GDP registering an impressive 4.1 percent growth rate, the best quarter since 2014.  The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s GDPNow forecasting tool has U.S. GDP growth at 4.3 percent in the third quarter as of early August.  The fact that U.S. GDP growth has averaged 3.1 percent over the past 12 months is very impressive given U.S. GDP growth averaged less than 2 percent annually from 2009 – 2016. 

June/July 2018 OUTLOOK

The U.S. economy has officially reached the halfway point and the data is favorable yet somewhat mixed as to results and performance to date and outcomes in the second half of the year. Economists and Americans in general continue to be concerned over three things: the size and scope of the U.S. national debt, U.S. trade policy and the economy's ability to reach and sustain long-term GDP growth at or above 3 percent annually. By the end of July we will have a pivotal answer to the latter when initial U.S. second quarter GDP is released. Recently, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that revised first quarter U.S. GDP showed that the U.S. economy grew at 2.2 percent rather than the initially reported 2.3 percent due to downward revisions in inventory investment and consumer spending. We believe that last year's tax cuts will positively impact U.S. growth, but question to what degree?

May/June 2018 Outlook

The U.S. economy has officially reached the halfway point and the data is favorable yet somewhat mixed as to results and performance to date and outcomes in the second half of the year. Economists and Americans in general continue to be concerned over three things: the size and scope of the U.S. national debt, U.S. trade policy and the economy's ability to reach and sustain long-term GDP growth at or above 3 percent annually. By the end of July we will have a pivotal answer to the latter when initial U.S. second quarter GDP is released. 

April 2018 Outlook

As of the end of April, the U.S. economy has one-third of 2018 economic performance in the rear view mirror. The U.S. economy grew at a rate of 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 2018 according to data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in late April. The BEA 2018 Q1 GDP report was higher than expected as most economists saw the economy growing at roughly 2 percent for the first three months of this year. We have mixed feelings about the results as they represent a decline relative to GDP growth the previous three quarters of 2017 (Q2 = 3.1 percent, Q3 = 3.2 percent, Q4 = 2.9 percent).

March 2018 outlook

March marks the end of the first quarter of 2018 and the initial quarter of President Donald Trump's first full year in office. The impact of the Trump Tax Cuts is now being felt throughout the U.S. economy with the hope from many in Washington that lower taxes will have a substantial impact on U.S. GDP in 2018. The Bureau of Economic Analysis will release Q1 GDP at the end of April with the most recent estimate by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta calling for GDP growth of 2.7 percent. This would be an improvement over the average for the last 10 years but less than what the White House has been hoping for.

 

February 2018 Outlook

At the end of February, the U.S. and world economies find themselves producing mixed results. The U.S. stock market closed at record levels and much momentum seems to be gathering steam for growth and prosperity if only President Trump and the Democrats can work together. 

 

January 2018 Outlook

At the end of 2017 the United States economy was in a surprisingly strong position relative to what most economists had predicted at the beginning of the year. In fact, the U.S. and global economies were performing unexpectedly well largely due to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) growth as well as better than expected Euro Area growth. However, the year did not end without concern over issues ranging from government debt both here and abroad and conflicts ranging from North Korea to the Middle East.