U.S. Outlook: A softer start to the year

Scott Anderson
Posted by Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

After two consecutive quarters of more than 3.0% real GDP growth in 2017, you could be forgiven for starting to believe the hype of the administration’s 3.0 or 4.0% annual growth forecasts for the coming years.

Two signs in store window for sales - 50% and 70% - with reflection of shoppers faintly visible.Unfortunately, the period of 3% GDP growth appears to already be in our rear-view mirror.

For more on this, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on Feb. 16.

Key observations:
  • After a surge in spending in September, October, and November, consumers have grown stingy in December and January.
  • Bad weather in January could have contributed to the weakness in sales that month, but that isn’t the whole story, in our opinion.
  • In all fairness, we are probably not seeing the impact of the personal tax cuts passed in December in these retail sales numbers.
  • We’ve revised our real GDP forecast for the first quarter of 2018 down to 2.1%.

 

Read my full report.

 

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