U.S. Outlook to 2045

Pandemic’s lingering effects could hamper growth.

Updated: November 18, 2021

The U.S. economy has recovered from the devastating effects of the pandemic much faster than anticipated, and we expect to see that sometime in the second half of 2021 the gap between potential and actual growth closed.

Employment levels could return to their pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022. The massive fiscal and monetary policy implemented in 2021 and the recovery in some of the United States’ major trading partners are the main factors behind the huge rebound in activity.

  • Can’t Escape Demographics
  • Pandemic-Driven Rebound in Productivity Won’t Last
  • Growth in Potential Output Heading Lower
  • Surge in Inflation Unlikely to Persist Through Long Term
  • Aggregate Demand

Key findings

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Potential economic growth will be restrained by weaker investment spending. Spending on equipment will expand at a faster pace than on structures, as companies will increasingly have to deal with labour shortages that force them to spend on new labour-saving technologies.

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Housing markets have soared during the pandemic. But that won’t last through the long term as mortgage rates rise and an aging population becomes less interested in purchasing single-family dwellings.

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Trade and current account deficits will persist through 2045 as imports expand at a slightly faster pace than exports.

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In general, the U.S. economy will be a more digitized and less equal economy through 2040, a development closely linked to the lasting effects of the pandemic.

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