The U.S. economy will grow a strong 3. 7 percent this year and that expansion will extend into the first half of 2018, ITR Economics president Alan Beaulieu
told attendees at the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors Executive Summit in Washington D.C. on Feb.
2. A well-known speaker, Beaulieu also serves as NAW’s
senior economic advisor. He provides market outlook presentations at many distribution association conventions.
“We’re growing at a decent clip,” Beaulieu said, noting
that 3. 7 percent growth should be considered a very good
year. “We’re going to experience some good times ahead.”
There are many signs for optimism, he said, including
favorable interest rates, non-residential construction
improving, the rise of employment and wages and banks
willingness to lend money.
Beaulieu emphasized that the growth of the economy
is not a bump that occurred because of the election of
President Donald Trump, but one that had begun before
the election. Nor does Beaulieu believe any action that
Trump takes would influence the economic forecast.
“A legislative order takes about 18 months to feel
the effect. We have the luxury of time and we can adjust
accordingly,” Beaulieu advised.
But, he added, it generally doesn’t matter who is in
charge, because the president has little effect on the
“The economy is colorblind when it comes to having a
Democrat or Republican in the White House,” Beaulieu
He also predicted that the economy would slow down
at the latter part of 2018 and go into a consumer-led mild
recession in 2019, one that will not be as severe as past
recessions. He detailed a number of reasons as to why the
economy, after that recession, would continue growing
throughout the 2020’s. Beaulieu noted that the U.S.
has 300 years of energy available “in the ground” while
Europe has only 30, foreign investment in the U.S.
continues to grow, the standard of living continues to
improve and manufacturing continues to do well. U.S.
manufacturers also are exporting more products.
“That’s a huge benefit,” Beaulieu said. “If you get
into trade wars, while some jobs might be gained many
others would be lost. At no time in history is there a
happy ending to protectionism.”
Beaulieu said such a program could lead to the U.S.
unable to compete with the rest of the world.
Beaulieu also dispelled any doubts about U.S. manufacturing, which is the fourth-largest employer in the U.S.,
trailing only healthcare, retail trade and hospitality/food
“The U.S. is still the world’s largest economy, followed
by China. The problem is 53 percent of people in this
country believe that China is larger than the U.S. It’s just
not true,” Beaulieu said.
China, he added, has some major problems including
its banking system and environmental concerns like air
While the overall outlook for the next 12 years continues to be rosy, Beaulieu predicted there will be a major
depression in 2030.
He advised attendees to accumulate as much cash as
possible in the “roaring” 2020s before the Depression
occurs and to prepare by taking steps such as accumulating cash or investing in high income fixed asset bonds.
Good Times Ahead For
Distributors, Economy In 2017