William Strauss’s Economic Outlook: Live From the Conference

Earlier this morning, William Strauss, Senior Economist & Economic Advisor at Chicago’s Federal Reserve Bank, took the stage at Commodity/PROcurement EDGE. Bill started his presentation by recapping his economic outlook from last year’s event (which took place in March of 2012). Here’s what Bill predicated at our Commodity Edge event 18 months ago: 

  • The outlook is for the U.S. economy to expand at a pace below trend in 2012 and slightly above trend in 2013
  • Employment is expected to rise moderately with the unemployment rate edging lower
  • Slackness in the economy will lead to a relatively contained inflation rate
  • Vehicle sales are anticipated to rise at a good pace
  • Growth in manufacturing output should be solid

Following the recap of these predictions (which were largely accurate), Bill observed that second quarter 2013 growth came in at 1.6%. When considering the GDP numbers, Bill notes that while “we continued to grow, but it’s not been that all an impressive growth.”

However, things are picking up (at least prior to the government shutdown). Bill notes that “the best guess for the fourth quarter is for a number that comes in around 2%.” At this stage of the economic cycle, while “we are substantially aware from the recession zone, we are still just muddling along.” Growth in Asia is slowing as well, he says.

Given this context, what will the economy look like in 2014, and what does it mean for procurement organizations? Check back later today as we share Bill’s crystal ball (which so far has a strong track record of being accurate!)

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