Experts Are Predicting a Possible Economic Slowdown in 2019

If you’re a trends watcher as I am, you may be noticing in increase in the number of stories about a possible economic slowdown later in 2019. Fact or fiction? It’s too soon to tell, but I thought you might appreciate reading some of the tea leaves for yourselves. Here, then, are X insights culled from recent expert opinions about the 2019 economic outlook:

  1. Fortune noted that Goldman predicts that U.S. GDP growth will slow to 1.8% in the third quarter of 2019 and to 1.6% during the fourth quarter. The positive impact of the tax cuts passed in late 2017 will fade while financial conditions will tighten.” Although Goldman isn’t forecasting a recession prior to 2020, Fortune reported that “a survey of economists by Reuters this week shows that most expect the chance of a recession in the U.S. is still low, at 35%, although the survey also showed that the median probability of a recession has inched up from 30% in the past month. Last week, Larry Summers, a Harvard economist and former treasury secretary during the Clinton Administration, said there’s a nearly 50% chance of recession by 2020.”
  2. CNBC reported that economists at UBS said, “Our outlook is that U.S. growth will be constrained by ebbing fiscal stimulus and higher interest rates.” CNBC also noted that U.S. stock indexes posted their worst year since 2008 while Europe’s  pan-European Stoxx 600 posted its worst year in a decade. UBS expects U.S. profit growth to slow to 4% in 2019, down from an 8-year high of 21% in 2018.
  3. MarketWatch observes that “The risks to economy seem to be multiplying, from trade tensions to national security threats. A trade war with China remains a distinct possibility. The terms of the U.K.’s exit from the European Union, or Brexit, have yet to be determined. France is dealing with anti-government street protests, triggered by an announced fuel tax, since abandoned, and a push for a higher minimum wage. Italy and the European Union, which were at loggerheads over Italy’s budget, have come to some kind of an agreement that will allow Europe’s fourth-largest economy to avoid sanctions for now.”
  4. USA Today noted that average monthly job growth is predicted to slow from 200,000 in 2018 to 160,000 in 2019 according to economist Michael Feroli of JPMorgan Chase. Although the 3.7% unemployment rate is an almost 50-year low, employers are struggling to fill open jobs, causing a record 7.1 million positions to remain open in October 2018.
  5. The recent U.S. government shutdown cost the economy $11 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as reported by The New York Times. This loss is enough to trim 2019 first-quarter growth by 0.4 percentage points says the CBO. With a possible second shutdown appearing increasing likely in February, many federal employees are saying they are planning to spend less and save more. Overall, the CBO reported that the shutdown decreased gross domestic product by $3 billion in the final quarter of 2018 and $8 billion in the first quarter of 2019.

The good news is that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts total employment will rise by more than 20 million jobs over the course of the decade ending next year, with the fastest growth occurring in the healthcare, personal care, social assistance, and construction sectors.

Professional and technical occupations such as those in computer systems design, mobile technologies, and management, scientific, and technical consulting will generate 2.1 million jobs according to the BLS, with 1.8 million occurring in education, 1.7 million in retail, 1 million in hotels and restaurants, and 1.6 million in miscellaneous services such as HR, waste collection, and temporary employment.

With a wide variety of sources sounding a note of caution about 2019 economic growth, this is a good time to curb spending, save money, upgrade your career communications portfolio, and begin thinking about your just-in-case job search strategy. With giants like GM laying off, a second possible government shutdown looming, and the global impacts of a potential no-deal Brexit up in the air, this is as good a time as any to review your career plans.

About Cheryl Lynch Simpson

Cheryl is a Career, Job Search & LinkedIn Coach and Master Resume Writer. She has helped clients in >35 industries on 6 continents and has earned 24 global resume writing nominations and awards.

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