Economic Impact: Tax cuts, reform likely to set new records for U.S. recovery

Posted on January 2, 2018 by Chris Chmura

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that this expansion is already more than 8 years long--only 18 months short of the record 120-month expansion that occurred from March 1991 to March 2001.

A few analysts are concerned about a recession occurring over the next year or two.  From our view, the tax cuts and reform just passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump increases the probability that this expansion will enter the record books.

Real gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest indicator of economic activity, is expected to expand by 2.3 percent in 2017 according to our forecasts after growing just 1.5 percent in the prior year.

Next year is stacking up to produce the fastest growth of this recovery as we see it.  We expect real GDP to advance 3.0 percent in 2018 and 3.3 percent in 2019.

Most economists have increased their outlook for growth over the next two years, in large part, due to the tax cuts and reform, but the expectations vary based on their assumptions about how businesses and consumers will react to the tax cuts. 

We expect the reduction in the corporate tax rate will enable businesses to invest more in computers and equipment which will enhance productivity.  This will initially increase employment for businesses making these goods.  It will also eventually lead to wage gains for workers who are now more productive.

The increased wages, employment, and individual tax cuts will all lead to more consumer spending.  With consumer spending making up about two-thirds of GDP, consumers are an important factor in economic growth.

This blog reflects Chmura staff assessments and opinions with the information available at the time the blog was written.