2020 Economic Outlook

The outlook for 2020 for the US economy is overall good, according to key indicators including: interest rates, stock market, consumer expectations, inflation, employment and, in particular GDP rate as that is an accurate indicator of America’s production output.  However, others have suggested a reduction from the 2019 2.2 percent figure to 2 percent this year. Indeed since 2017, real GDP growth was actually higher than average with a 2.5 percent figure for each calendar year.  This was mainly attributed to fiscal stimulus.

With Trump’s promise to boost advancements in the economy to 4 percent which is extremely fast, and – some would say – even too fast leading to overconfident consumerism. This could then result into a problematic boom and ultimate bust to the economy.  Indeed, there has been a marked growth spurt in the nation’s economy, especially as compared to other developed economies.

The dollar is also encountering a safety net, similar to the Swiss franc and Japanese yen.  This means that investors will more likely want to put money into US bonds and stocks.  There is an anticipated 3 percent growth within the next two years of the US dollar.

US Economy and Growth

America’s economy has enjoyed a steady solid growth rate for over 10 years.  The question is, where, how and what does the next decade look like?

According to a recent Bloomberg article, most of the wealth that the nation has generated has been from just 1% of counties. A recent report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis  found that a staggering 32.3% of US GDP was generated by 31 US counties.  What is perhaps even more odd about this statistic is that last year those 31 counties had only 26.1% of employed Americans.  

So it seems that the bones of the US economy is becoming further concentrated in larger cities and by the coasts.  Rural counties are dying down which could have implications for labor mobility and infrastructure spending.

But who exactly are these people who are bolstering the economy today?  According to a recent article in Yahoo Finance it is the immigrants who are making this happen: 

“Over the last decade, 42% of the net growth in U.S. population, and 54% of the net growth in the workforce, can be attributed to immigration. During the same period, the birth rate of native-born Americans has decreased, and the death rate has increased, due to aging. Immigrants now comprise roughly 15% of the total U.S. population. And because they tend to be younger than native-born Americans, immigrants now comprise about 17% of the U.S. workforce.”

With unemployment back at to its lowest since 1969 and a 3.1 percent increase in average hourly wages from 2018,  wherever its coming from and whoever’s providing it, the employment situation in America is positive.

How Technology Can Help You Tackle Personal Finances

Money management is complicated. Our lives are very busy, and it’s hard to have the time, energy and knowledge to keep on top of every dollar we spend and invest. You become a much smarter consumer, however, when you can keep track of these items. You certainly want to know how much money you are making, where and how you are spending and saving, and ultimately what and with whom to invest.

Thankfully, modern technology offers opportunities to learn about money and the economy, and how to stay on top of your personal needs as they change. There are many ways to use technology today to learn more about investing and budgeting, and to understand ways to save and earn for your future.

Educational Videos

One great way to become a more knowledgeable money manager is to learn from one or more of the companies that produce free educational videos, like this Youtube channel from Fisher Investments, to give consumers more information and know-how to help towards your personal financial success. There are videos of this sort available from many sources, and they offer an incredible resource to enable you to become better educated and to learn from those in the know. Do your own research, watch tutorials, and listen to podcasts to gain financial literacy. Understanding market trends and volatility allows you to have the information, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions.

Software Programs and Apps

A critical aspect of managing your cash flow is your ability to plan and organize. Many software programs and apps are available to help you manage your money. Using technology resources can make establishing and maintaining a personal budget easier, faster and more accurate. Cumulatively, these tools offer insight into your spending habits, send warnings as you near your budget boundaries, remind you when payments are due, and more.

With the wealth of technology available today, everyone can find a way to become more financially savvy, and to have programs at their fingertips to help with their financial journey. Look for online resources and technology tools to help you to do your job better. And of course, if the task gets overwhelming or these tools just aren’t enough, you can always reach out to a financial adviser for further assistance.

New US-China 1st Phase Deal

America and China have just announced Phase 1 of a new economic-trade deal that seeks to “put a floor under further deterioration of the bilateral relationship.”  According to Craig Allen, US-China Business Council President, this move is “very encouraging.” US Chamber of Commerce’s EVP and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant said that it “creates clarity for businesses and provides a lift for American consumers during the holiday season.”

And as Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation pointed out, once the trade door is “re-opened” between the two countries, this will be “key to helping farmers and ranchers get back on their feet.”

Trade is so very important for these farmers.  One farmer, Tom Waters explained that:

“Getting these trade deals negotiated and in place can do nothing but help us, (and) help our price and our ability to feed the world, really.”

Farmers really do need to return to their engagement in global business, of which US-China trade is a huge part. Added to this fact is that since 2018’s reshaping of trade policy via the Trump administration, American farmers have been faced with “fluctuating prices and uncertain destinations for what they grow and harvest amid increasing tariffs on grain exports.”  The farmers really want trade (not aid) but they are facing demands from bankers who want to be paid.

Hopefully though the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Agreement will also provide help to farmers moving forward.

Tariff Collection Bolstering Economy

September figures for US import tariffs reached $7 billion. This marked a 9 percent hike from the month before and 59% jump year on year.  Trade Partnership – in conjunction with the Commerce Department – compiled the data which was released by the business/agricultural group collation, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland.

Tariffs have been collected by America historically but not on all items.  Now they are even heavier though.  Trump’s argument is that they are needed to get China to curtail the practices it is engaged in with its tariffs that excoriate companies in America.

Earlier this month, a Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson, Gao Feng said:

“Over the past two weeks, the two negotiating teams had serious and constructive discussions and agreed to remove the additional duties imposed on each other’s products in different phases after they make progress in reaching a deal. Both sides should simultaneously undo existing additional tariffs in the same proportion to reach phase one deal, and that is an important condition for signing a preliminary agreement. As for how much of the tariffs should be removed, the two countries can negotiate based on the content of the phase-one deal.”

It has also been reported from the White House that there is optimism surrounding the likelihood of the two sides “reaching an agreement soon.”

US Economic Ebbs and Flows

America’s economy has been indicating signs of solidity despite minor downturns reported in the third quarter.  While economists had indicated concern over a GDP dropoff, the ongoing US-China trade war did little for confidence in the business sector. 

With a 1.9 percent economic expansion in the summer, this figure – released by the Commerce Department – exceeded expectations.   According to Executive Director of US Economics Advisers, Ben Herzon:

“If I saw cracks in the consumer sector, I would be worried, but I don’t see that yet. The economy is not slowing into a recession.”

There was a definitive decline in business investment, research and development – 3 percent – as well as 15.3 percent drop in office and factory expenditure.

Business Activity: US

Economies, businesses, GDP, revenue – all encountering a reduced pace of movement.  America seems to be faring somewhat better – thankfully not yet feeling the impact of the interest rate cuts from central banks.  According to figures from the US Commerce Department however, concerns over international trade issues are undermining business activity in the nation.

According to a recent WSJ article however:

“a private survey of business activity separately indicated a slight uptick in U.S. business activity in October, up from earlier lows.”

Still, even though there are real concerns for a recession, other data is indicating that America’s economy is faring well, “reflect[ing] economic strength.”

In addition, last month unemployment fell to a 50 year low and there was a hike in retail sales more than anyone anticipated in August.  According to BCA Research Chief US Investment Strategist Doug Peta:

“While the survey data have been steadily disappointing expectations, hard data have been a source of positive surprises. The labor market remains vibrant enough to exert downward pressure on the unemployment rate, and services continue to expand despite the contraction in manufacturing, both here and abroad. The expansion has slowed, but it’s not finished yet.”