Monday, January 7, 2019

The Economy: Looking Forward

I heard an economic expert review the state of the economy on NPR this weekend.

She said all the standard stuff:  low unemployment, erratic stock market, great jobs report (the previous day), one month’s report of wage increase vis inflation, trade war, government shut down, erratic president.

But on balance – more standard stuff – she said the economy was strong and looked to continue to be.

Then she said something that caught my attention (I am editorializing here with the words in the quotation marks; I was driving my car at the time and I couldn’t write down what she was saying, and my car stereo doesn’t have a recording option; but this is pretty close).

“Of course those statistics are all backward looking statistics; they describe how things have been, not where they are going.  Forward looking statistics tell where the economy might be going.  Two key ones are business investment and growth of the labor force.  American business is keeping and has been keeping for years all their cash, not investing it; the birth rate doesn’t support a growing labor force; immigration is usually the solution to that problem, and we all know where that is going. So the forward looking statistics forecast a less optimistic future for the US economy”.

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