The National Association for Business Economics said in a survey released Monday that US GDP growth next year would drop below 2% for the first time since 2016. In the previous survey, the consensus expectation for the next year was 2.1% – now it has dropped to 1.8%.
Although the 54 economists surveyed don't expect a recession yet, the dour forecast is the latest example that slowdown is no longer just an expectation.
When in perspective, however, the economy is not in bad shape.
For example, fewer jobs than expected were added in September, but America is near full employment. It makes sense that job growth is slowing: With the unemployment rate at 3.5%, its lowest since December 1
The economy is really still "in a good place," Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Friday. It certainly is. This is the longest expansion of the US economy on record, and it's still going – just at a slower pace.
The Fed has raised interest rates twice so far this year to keep growth going. But expectations for monetary policy in the remainder of 2019 are all over the place. The NABE economists are split, with 40% anticipating another rate cut this year. Three-quarters of them expect a rate cut by the end of 2020.
By comparison, market expectations call for a 78% chance of a quarter percentage point cut this month, and a near 90% chance of a decrease in December, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.
But the rate of cut or not, the trade war remains a real risk to the economy.
"The rise in protectionism, pervasive trade policy uncertainty, and slower global growth are considered key downside risks , "said Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics and Survey Chair for NABE.
The uncertainty of US-China trade war poses for overall growth and individual sectors like manufacturing, which rely on both global demand and materials from abroad,
Financial markets have been getting sloped around by headlines all year, with stocks rallying at slightest signs of hope for a trade deal and then dropping with the next escalation. If the trade war were out of the way, the outlook for the economy could look very different.