“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”
We all know that change is constant and increasing rapidly in the world today. Many things are predictable if we examine the data, but big questions still remain about our economic future.
Will our relationship with China mature to a new level in 2019? As we change our trading relationship with them, China itself is transforming. According to the Wall Street Journal, China is “no longer just a manufacturer for the world, China has become the largest market for many consumer, luxury and durable goods, as an expanding middle class flexes its spending power.” If we can mature our relationship in a healthy way, our companies and our farmers can help feed that consumer market directly. If we cannot mature our relationship in the short-term, and geo-political issues exceed economic development goals for both nations, then the two largest economies in the world will continue an awkward dance that impedes real progress.
Will U.S. technology companies continue their incredible growth? Much of our economic gain in the past decade has been because of technology and business model advances. The big five (Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google) have all created millions of jobs directly and indirectly, and have invested hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy. Will their growth stall or simply change? The investments made in computing power, artificial intelligence and other sophisticated software will begin to transform entire industries and their markets. Deloitte provides an interesting outlook.
How will increased spending in healthcare and defense throughout the world impact U.S. companies and foreign direct investment? These two giant areas of spending are fueled by a changing world order and an aging world population. Defense spending in the U.S. is high, and more and more is being spent in Europe and China as they bolster their defenses. See this informative look at medical spending and its root causes from PWC.
Will automation begin to reverse the huge job growth of the finance and insurance sector over the past several years? As competition continues to grow within banking and insurance, and in technology-based business models, will these industries look to automation to compete?
Most importantly, will the U.S. power through 2019 and continue to see steady job and investment growth or will we move backward reversing some of the gains made since the great recession?
One thing I’m sure of is that economic development success will continue to matter to everyone, everywhere in 2019. Let’s make it a great year!