Positive signs are emerging across the U.S. economy, but global concerns that include China's stagnation and the impact of the looming Brexit could stunt growth, says Cliff Waldman, director of economic studies for the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation Foundation.
"We're turning up in the right direction," Waldman said during the MAPI Foundation's most recent quarterly Economic and Manufacturing Outlook. "This is the first presentation where I can start to see at least hints of a globe that is slowly turning a corner. Nonetheless, you've got to put it all in context. This is still a slow-growth world."
U.S. GDP in 2016 was 1.6 percent, the ongoing result of an economic recovery that was "crisis-ridden, sluggish and slow," Waldman said. "It's been everything but good."
That should improve, albeit modestly. MAPI forecasts 2.3 percent GDP for 2017, and then 2.6 percent for 2018, 2.1 percent for 2019 and 2 percent for 2020, prolonging the country's streak of not seeing 3 percent GDP since 2005, Waldman said.
But the slow-growth environment isn't limited to our borders. "U.S. frustration is the world's frustration," Waldman said, and that frustration could continue because of two factors – China's economic transition and the looming Brexit.
"Brexit is not a crisis, but it easily the biggest change in the global economy since World War II," said Waldman. "…Significant risks and interesting possibilities abound as the relationship between the UK, EU and U.S. will change."
The potential for strengthening economic ties between the UK and U.S. does exist, he said, but it will depend on the new administration's trade policies.
And China's woes might be bottoming out, but its short-term and long-term economic picture remains blurry.