These forecasts are driven by deteriorating structural fundamentals. For example, credit card debt has surged past even 2020 levels, with interest rates charged by banks that are just slightly higher than those observed leading up to the post-2000 dot-com crash. And yet, labor force participation rates — or the proportion of the population that is able to work and is working — have still not recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Furthermore, inflation — as measured by the consumer price index — has surged over the past few years.
Economic forecasts suggest that we are in for greater economic turbulence. The United States has been in a recession and that recession is expected to continue, with the Conference Board forecasting a further decline in gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.5% in Q4 of this year. It also anticipates that the recession will continue into at least Q2 of 2023. That was before the collapse of crypto trading platform FTX, which had profound downstream effects on investment portfolios and non-crypto companies. Other more optimistic forecasts, such as those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and S&P Global, are just barely positive for 2023 at 0.7% and 0.2%, respectively.
These macroeconomic indicators are common outside of the U.S. too. Many – even the International Monetary Fund — have pointed out the increase in inflation as a result of higher energy prices in Europe, which is one factor, among others, that contributes to the European Union’s recent forecast of nearly zero GDP growth for all of 2023. That is on top of its already long-run demographic challenge that there are too many people aging out of the labor force and not enough new entrants, which has dire implications for GDP growth.
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