Challenges Looming for the US Economy

October 2, 2023

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Challenges Looming for the US Economy: What Alternative Asset Investors Should Know

Multiple Economic Threats Ahead

The US economy stands at a precarious juncture as a potential federal government shutdown approaches, labor strikes intensify in the Midwest, and rising energy expenses alongside the end of pandemic relief measures impact consumers.

Federal Government Shutdown: Expected to have commenced over this weekend, a shutdown would not only put federal employees on temporary leave but also hamper the Federal Reserve’s access to crucial economic data.

Midwest Autoworkers Strike: The ongoing labor unrest against major domestic car manufacturers signals more challenges in the automotive sector and in the labor force more broadly.

Pandemic Relief Expiry: Come October, critical relief measures for student loan repayments and childcare subsidies will end, further straining households and possibly reducing consumer expenditure.

Digital rendering of bar and line graph indicating dollar amounts Challenges Looming for the US Economy
A potential federal government shutdown may be on the way. Photo by Crazy Motions on Pexels.

Potential Economic Repercussions

Economists from Goldman Sachs predict these combined threats might reduce the annualized GDP growth to 1.3% in Q4, a significant drop from the 3.1% seen in Q3. To break it down:

  • A government shutdown could reduce growth by 0.2% each week.
  • The autoworker’s strike might contribute to a 0.1% reduction per week.
  • The recommencement of student loan repayments is predicted to result in a 0.5% decline.

While the Federal Reserve maintains a positive stance on the US economic outlook, rising oil prices, now nearing $100 a barrel due to supply restrictions from Russia and Saudi Arabia, add to the concerns.

Is a Recession on the Horizon?

In a recent interview, James Knightley, ING’s chief international economist, warned of rapidly slowing consumer spending in Q4. Without quick resolutions to the labor unrest and government shutdown, Q4’s GDP growth could even turn negative. Despite the warnings, the consensus among experts is that a recession might be averted, largely thanks to a resilient labor market.

White finger pointing to line and bar graphs on paper Challenges Looming for the US Economy
Knightley warns of a massive slowdown in Q4. Photo by Lukas on Pexels.

Concerns for Alternative Asset Investors

The primary Challenges Looming for the US Economy and for investors in alternative assets revolve around:

Inflation: Rising energy prices and other supply chain disruptions might increase inflation rates. The ongoing strikes could also increase vehicle costs, impacting related market sectors.

Federal Reserve’s Data Dilemma: A prolonged government shutdown might impact data collection, making interest rate decisions challenging for the Federal Reserve in its upcoming October meeting.

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