Despite high levels of consumer concern about the US-China trade war and its potential to cause a recession, the US economy is actually in pretty good shape for 2020.
The US unemployment rate fell to 3.5% in September – its lowest level in 50-years, while retail sales grew more than expected over the summer. Consumer spending in general rose consistently throughout 2019, helping to keep the economy growing (albeit slowly).
To manage a dip in manufacturing and business investment, the federal funds rate was cut for a third time in October. The rate, which affects the cost of mortgages, credit cards and other borrowing, now hovers between 1.5% and 1.75%. But the central bank says it will hold rates steady for the foreseeable future.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), meanwhile, expects the American economy to increase by 2.1% in 2020, and says if a deal easing trade tensions between the US and China is reached, it will have positive ramifications for growth globally.
“The state of the US consumer, in aggregate, has never been healthier,” Morgan Stanley Chief US Economist Ellen Zentner wrote to clients recently, but how do consumers themselves feel about the state of their personal finances?
Our 2020 US Consumer Finance report sets out to find out. The report explores the economic behaviors and attitudes of people in the US currently, and looks at where they’re headed in the future.