Economy and Jobs
August 15, 2018
Will the expansion last?

Economists generally agree that business activity and the country’s gross domestic product will continue to increase at least through next summer, when the economic expansion would become the longest in U.S. history. Low unemployment is beginning to push up wages and encourage more Americans to re-enter the job market, and consumer confidence and spending remain strong. The biggest threats to the robust economy, financial experts say, are trade tensions between the United States and other large economies, notably China’s, and the possibility that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates too quickly as inflation inches up. In the long term, the federal deficit is expected to balloon as a result of congressional actions to increase government spending and cut taxes.

Autoworkers rally against President Trump’s proposed tariffs on auto imports in Washington, D.C., on July 19. Trump said the tariffs would benefit autoworkers, but economists say import duties would drive down demand for cars and lead to layoffs. (Getty Images/Mark Wilson)   Autoworkers rally against President Trump’s proposed tariffs on auto imports in Washington, D.C., on July 19. Trump said the tariffs would benefit autoworkers, but economists say import duties would drive down demand for cars and lead to layoffs. (Getty Images/Mark Wilson)

The United States is in its ninth consecutive year of economic expansion, which began when the steep 2007-09 financial crisis ended. In May, the expansion became the second-longest on record, although its growth rate has been weak by historical standards. 1

As of mid-August, the economy continued to gain momentum, thanks in part to congressional passage of a massive $1.5 trillion tax cut in December that slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. 2

RELATED REPORTS