Economic Outlook for 2020

Will the consumer prevail?

Robert Spendlove and Drew Maggelet Jan 10, 2020

There is little doubt that the U.S. consumer has been the backbone of the current economic expansion. With solid job creation and historically low unemployment rates, consumers have felt comfortable opening their wallets and driving growth, even as other areas of the economy — such as business investments — have weakened.

This is going to be an important dynamic moving into 2020 as consumers will, once again, be called upon to pick up the slack.

Many of the same trends that appeared in 2019 will continue into 2020. The U.S. is in its 11th year of economic expansion and is starting to show its age. While overall growth in the labor market and broader economy should persist, both will continue to moderate. The main sources of uncertainty, the trade war with China and slowing global growth, are again set to remain front and center for economists and policy makers. The upcoming presidential election will add another wrinkle to the mix.

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