Despite an uptick in hiring, Americans — worried about global growth — are keeping their wallets closed. With consumers pulling back on purchases, it’s no wonder manufacturing — which makes up 10 percent of the U.S. economy — is contracting. Decreasing optimism is borne out by PwC’s Q4 Manufacturing Barometer, with only 46 percent of those surveyed saying they were optimistic about the direction of the U.S. economy. However, although the CFOs polled by Deloitte in Q4 2015 are concerned about the global economy, they believe that North America (and the U.S. in particular) can continue to shoulder the burden of economic growth in 2016.
With whom to those surveyed by Area Development in the final quarter of 2015 agree? Interestingly, the respondents to our 30th Annual Corporate Survey are pretty much evenly split: 48 percent believe the U.S. economy has achieved a continuous growth track, while 52 percent say it has not.
If hiring does continue to pick up, wages will increase further, and perhaps spur consumers to spend more and boost economic growth. Nonetheless, Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh, told The New York Times (1/29/16), “This year is going to look a lot like the past couple of years. Growth in 2016 will be good but not great.”