Insight & Thought Leadership on the Global Economy

One of our most insightful economists examines the extraordinary actions the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, and other authorities took to cope with the economic catastrophe that followed the financial crash of 2008. (Paying the Price) A readable, balanced account of what they did, why they did it, and how well it worked out—so far. — Alice M. Rivlin, the Brookings Institution, former Director of OMB and Vice Chair of the Fed

U.S. Macro Outlook: Hanging Tough

  • U.S. employment has grown faster than expected given the restraint from federal fiscal policy.
  • Real GDP growth has slowed nevertheless, likely ending the second quarter below 2% annualized.
  • Improved consumers confidence shows in rebounding vehicle and house sales.
  • Markets are skeptical that the Fed can continue to hold long-term interest rates down.
  • Unrest in the developing world threatens a growing market for U.S. exports.
  • Threats to a stronger U.S. recovery, while substantial, are less severe than they were a year ago.

The U.S. economy appears to be moving forward gracefully despite raging fiscal headwinds. The tax increases and government spending cuts, which will lower GDP by an estimated 1.5 percentage points this year, have done less damage than expected. Employment in particular has outperformed expectations: If anything, job growth has picked up in recent months. Payrolls have recently been adding close to 200,000 positions per month, topping forecasts of less than 150,000 at the start of the year.

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