The Economy in Focus

First Quarter 2019

Executive Summary

April 23, 2019
George Mokrzan, PH.D., Director of Economics

The First Quarter of 2019 experienced slow economic growth as consumers and businesses reacted to volatility in financial markets, a government shutdown, concerns about international trade with China, and a broad slowdown in the international economy. While the international economy will likely remain relatively weak in 2019, the other factors creating the first quarter slowdown were reduced or ended. Our overall forecast for 2019 is revised downward somewhat because of the slow first quarter and some projected inventory adjustments in the second quarter, but our outlook for moderate economic growth for the remainder of the year has not changed. Risks to our positive forecast, should they occur this year, would likely emanate primarily from the international economy.

In this edition of the Economy in Focus:

  • The economy growing at a slower, but still solid pace.
  • Labor Markets remain strong.
  • Consumer spending cooled this Winter, but expected to pick up this Spring.
  • Inflation slows in early 2019.
  • The Goods sector slows after a strong run up in the last 2 years.
  • Consumer Confidence remains high.
  • Capital spending on Equipment slows, but overall investment still strong.
  • Small Businesses taking the lead.
  • Housing markets showing nascent signs of revival.
  • Yield curve inversion - Not necessarily a precursor to recession.

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