Forecast 2021: Top US economic trends to watch

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04/22/21

Hear PwC's senior economist discuss macroeconomic trends in the US and how the economy ranks in global competitiveness.

In our Forecast 2021 podcast series, we’re focused on preparing you for the year ahead by offering insights to help you better understand and manage some of the opportunities and challenges that your company might face—think policy, technology, and other big picture topics.

We’ve been focusing on geopolitical trends around the world lately and thought this week we would talk about our corner of the globe. This week, host Heather Horn sat down with Chris Benko, PwC’s US Senior Economist, to gather insight into the macroeconomic health of the US and its place in the world.

Topics include:

  • 1:15 - Overall economic health. Chris believes we’ve moved through the most volatile part of the recession and are in the early stages of the recovery, but he believes the recession was an accelerant in the bifurcation of our country’s concentration of wealth.
  • 5:17 - Inflation and labor. Chris explains that some inflation is okay. He does not think we will see above-average inflation. But a 9% unemployment rate indicates how much of this recovery is still ahead of us.
  • 11:12 - Income inequality. There’s a mismatch in the market currently and the COVID recession is exacerbating the disparity in the workforce. Chris stresses the importance of putting people back to work and explains how this dynamic highlights the difference between the pace of growth and the underlying health of an economy.
  • 15:10 - Skills, innovation, and infrastructure in the US. Chris explains why the US does not score well in global competitiveness and the importance of addressing structural issues and infrastructure investment to address this. He explains how infrastructure, specifically digital infrastructure, includes the fundamentals that support the sustainable functioning of an economy. Chris tells us how infrastructure investments would be funded and what that means for the economy.
  • 27:22 - Reshoring manufacturing investments. Chris suggests that companies should focus on having on-shore, near-shore, or contingency supply chains, depending on company strategy and risk appetite. He encourages CFOs to plan for an operating environment in which the US is no longer the unrivaled power it once was.
  • 30:36 - Other topics for CFOs to think about. Chris closes by explaining how the past year was a strong reminder that an economy is a finely balanced and delicate organism that is not pre-programmed or pre-ordained. He also looks to what may be the next economic catalysts.

About our guest

Chris Benko is PwC’s US Senior Economist, providing the firm and its clients with economic analysis and commentary. Chris leads a team of business and sector analysts, economists and data scientists, leveraging data and analytics to develop provocative points of view and inform strategic decision-making.

About our host

Heather Horn is PwC’s National Office thought leader, responsible for developing our communications strategy and conveying firm positions on accounting and financial reporting matters. She is the engaging host of PwC’s accounting and reporting weekly podcast and quarterly webcast series, as well as periodic webcasts for the power and utilities industry. With nearly 30 years of experience, Heather’s accounting and auditing expertise includes financial instruments and rate-regulated accounting.

All episodes in the series

Contact us

Heather Horn

Heather Horn

US Strategic Thought Leader, National Professional Services Group, PwC US

David Schmid

David Schmid

International Accounting Leader, National Professional Services Group, PwC US

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