Outlook for 2016 promising

Challenges may still be ahead as numerous risks could slow growth.

The overall economic outlook for 2016 is promising although some challenges might still be ahead, says an expert in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

“We are entering our 79th month of economic expansion in the U.S., which is the fifth longest period on record,” said Mark Partridge, the C. William Swank Chair in Rural-Urban Policy in the college. “I remain optimistic on national growth.

“Back to back, 2015 and 2016 look to be the best years of the 21st century yet.”

Consistent growth

Partridge said the U.S. stands out among advanced economies as one of the most consistent in the past few years in regard to economic growth.

“As of the October employment report released in November, 2015 U.S. job growth is on track to be good by post-2000 standards, but not as good as 2014, which was the best since 1999,” he said.

However, Partridge noted that though 2016 looks to be another good year, there are numerous risks that could easily slow growth. Some of the risks, he said, include the stalled U.S. Congress, which did not have agreement to enact any kind of fiscal policy for the country.

“Additionally, policy institutions such as the International Monetary Fund have also highlighted the need for the U.S. to make large investments in infrastructure as a long-term growth strategy, which is not currently underway,” Partridge said. “These same institutions have also raised the alarm on the possible impact of climate change and the risks of not investing in climate change management strategies.”

Poised to prosper

Finally, with growth in China slowing down, there is a broader trade slowdown on the horizon, which will impact the global economy, he said.

Partridge also highlighted some surprising trends that reflect the larger economic picture.

“Today, 25% of young adults live with their parents,” he said. “This is a big change in recent years. In 1980, this figure was only 5%.

“These young people are also not married, either, which again is a major shift. Data shows that married men tend to be much more productive. These unmarried young adults are also choosing not to buy houses, they are instead living in apartments.”

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