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United States (US) GDP Growth Forecast

GDP growth slowed at end-2018 and in first quarter 2019 to near trend of about 2%. Growth slipped in the fourth quarter of 2018 to 2.2%, from a robust 3.8% growth averaged over the middle two quarters of the year. The government shutdown pulled growth lower by 0.1 percentage point.

Contributing to a material slowing in GDP growth are slowing global growth, slightly higher interest rates, and less boost from rising stock prices, the effects of recent tariffs, a turn from inventory building to shedding, and the approach to capacity constraints. The slowing is expected to be broad-based, with softening growth also seen across consumer spending and business investment. 

To learn more, visit the US Economic Service.

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Key US GDP Forecast Drivers

  • Consumer spending growth was solid at 2.5%, but that masked an unexpectedly weak December. 
  • Nonresidential investment, which had slowed sharply in the third quarter following a strong first half in 2018, rebounded to grow at a respectable 5.4% pace. 
  • Net exports declined much less in the fourth quarter than had been expected. 
  • Import growth fell back to a 2.0% pace and exports, which declined in the third quarter, turned up to rise at a 1.8% rate US growth to slow in 2019 to trend-like 2% 

Experts

Joel Prakken, Ph.D.

A thought-leader on US economic outlook, monetary policy forecasts and fixed income markets with over 30 years of experience and expertise as a macroeconomic modeler, Dr. Prakken has developed an unmatched structural-econometric model of the US economy. He co-founded Macroeconomic Advisers which was acquired by IHS Markit in 2017. Prior to founding Macroeconomic Advisers, Dr. Prakken held the position of senior economist at the World Headquarters of the IBM Corporation and before that he served with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, US. He also has held positions on the faculties of New York University's Graduate School of Business, the Economics Department of Washington University, and the Olin School of Business at Washington University. He is the past president and a fellow of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). He is also past president of the Gateway Association of Business Economists in Saint Louis. Dr. Prakken has many publications to his credit, including papers written for the Council of Economic Advisers, the American Council for Capital Formation, and the Center for the American Study of Business on topics ranging from tax reform to budget policy to monetary policy to the impact of technology on productivity. He has testified on these topics before committees in both the US House of Representatives and the Senate. Dr. Prakken has participated in meetings of the Outside Consultants to Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, is a past member of the Panel of Economic Consultants to the Congressional Budget Office and is a current member of the advisory committee of the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Dr. Prakken completed his undergraduate degree in economics at Princeton University, and holds an MA and Ph.D. in economics from Washington University in Saint Louis, United States.

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Ken Matheny, Ph.D.

Mr. Matheny has more than two decades of experience as a professional economist and macroeconomic forecaster, including economic analysis, econometrics, and financial modeling. He is an expert on Federal Reserve policies, macroeconomic impacts, and interactions with the banking and financial sectors. He writes frequently on macroeconomics, financial markets, and the Federal Reserve. He maintains regular contact with clients and is available for media engagements. He has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance, Marketplace, and other US and foreign media outlets. Prior to joining IHS Markit, he was a Senior Economist at Macroeconomic Advisers. He was an assistant professor at Purdue University and worked in the banking industry. He holds a Ph.D. from UCLA and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis (Economics and German), magna cum laude.

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Kathleen Navin, CBE

She joined IHS Markit through the 2017 acquisition of Macroeconomic Advisers, where she joined June 2010. Her primary responsibilities pertain to the US Macro Insights (USMI) service and to special reports and projects that utilize the proprietary macroeconomic model, MA/US. Ms. Navin is the technical lead on the Macroprudential Scenarios Service, coordinating and contributing to the development of scenarios and supporting products. In 2015, she became a member of the National Association of Business Economics' inaugural class of Certified Business Economists. She was a research associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in the division of Macroeconomics and Monetary Policy. Ms. Navin graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics in 2007 from the University of Missouri, where she went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in Economics in 2008.

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Ben Herzon, Ph.D.

Known as the current-quarter Guru of IHS Markit, Dr. Herzon focuses on translating recent trends in high-frequency data into a near-term forecast of GDP growth with high statistical precision. That includes directing the analysis of the data, authoring data commentaries, running the current-quarter tracking system, designing and maintaining a population-weighted snowfall database and conducting other research that requires a heavy dose of statistical horsepower. In addition, he writes portions of the forecast reports and conducts and reports research on a variety of macro topics. He joined Macroeconomic Advisers (later acquired by IHS Markit) a year prior to receiving his Ph.D. in economics from Washington University in April 1998. His research there focused tracing the effects of monetary policy shocks through various industrial sectors, employing BEA's input-output accounts and time-series econometric techniques. He is a member and previously served as president of the St. Louis Gateway Chapter of NABE.

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Patrick Newport, Ph.D.

Dr. Newport tracks the investment and construction sectors for the Global Insights Macroeconomic Service and serves on client consulting projects. He manages long-term forecasts for Global Insights and co-manages the macroeconomic model. He joined the company in 1998. Previously, he worked as a research economist for the Washington State Department of Revenue, where he later served as a senior economist for the Office of the Forecast Council of Washington State. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Economics from Louisiana State University, US. Dr. Newport attained his doctorate in Philosophy from Harvard University, US. He speaks English and Spanish.

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Chris Varvares

Mr. Varvares has nearly 40 years of experience in macroeconomic modeling, forecasting and policy analysis, as co-head of US Economics at IHS Markit, in his previous role as a principal of Macroeconomic Advisers and as a member of the staff of the President's Council of Economic Advisers (1981-1982); he served as a member of the US delegation to the OECD in April 1982. Macroeconomic Advisers was acquired by IHS Markit in 2017. He and the IHS Markit US economic principals serve as consultants to key agencies of the US and foreign governments, major trade associations, and private corporations, and are widely quoted in the business and financial media. IHS Markit is widely recognized as among the most accurate forecasters of the US economy. Mr. Varvares is a recent past president and a former director of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). He served as president of the NABE Gateway chapter in St.Louis and is a member of the American Economic Association. He serves as a member of the New York State Economic and Revenue Advisory Board and has participated in the meetings of the Outside Consultants to the CBO, has been a panelist for the World Economic Forum, and he sits on advisory boards for the Olin Business School at Washington University and the Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University. Mr. Varvares holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from The George Washington University and received his graduate training (ABD) in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was also a member of the adjunct faculty in both the economics department and the Olin School of Business.

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