A year ago, many economic experts predicted that the U.S. economy would slow in 2019.
“There is little doubt in my mind that real economic growth will slow down in 2019,” Michael Knetter, the president and chief executive officer of the University of Wisconsin Foundation and a former staff economist for presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, said a year ago.
The economy did slow down in 2019, but not much. After U.S. gross domestic product grew 2.9% in 2018 (the best since 2015), it grew 3.1% in the first quarter, 2.0% in the second quarter and 2.1% in the third quarter of 2019. GDP growth for the fourth quarter is projected at 2.3% by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. That adds up to only a slight dip in U.S. GDP growth in 2019.
What happened? Consumers, whose confidence has been buoyed by an unemployment rate at or near 50-year lows, have spent enough to keep the U.S. economy’s record-setting growth streak alive, even as many businesses became more cautious largely due to uncertainty from tariffs and trade wars instigated by President Donald Trump.