With the flurry of news activity in the last three months, it’s no wonder MTForecast doesn’t seem like that long ago. Yet, since economists last took the stage, several events have changed the trajectory of both the U.S. economy as well as the manufacturing technology industry. Most forecasters have removed a recession from their base case; geopolitical tensions have escalated from strained to chaotic; and with election season about to enter full swing, uncertainty will be layered on top of everything else. As a result, it’s all the more important to hear the latest industry forecasts virtually or in person on Jan. 26 at the 2024 Winter Economic Forum, hosted by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology.
In early October, when MTForecast was held, forecasts for the trajectory of the U.S. economy were a mixed bag. Each economist at the event presented a different outlook for the 2024 economy. The Federal Reserve never had a recession in their base case and instead projected a median forecast of 1.5% GDP growth in 2024 through their Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) report. The December SEP revised that projection slightly downward to 1.4% growth, but they still have the most optimistic forecast by far. ITR Economics was the most pessimistic of the MTForecast presenters, predicting 0.3% contraction in 2024. Despite forecasting the year to end net negative, they waivered on predicting an official recession call. Oxford Economics was the Goldilocks at MTForecast, predicting a recession but also that GDP would end positive in 2024 with 0.2% growth. Since that presentation, the Oxford base case has removed the recession and improved their prediction to 1% growth.
At the 2024 Winter Economic Forum, Amit Sharda, lead industry economist at Oxford Economics, will present an updated forecast and discuss its implications for the manufacturing technology industry.
On the day most of us were flying home from MTForecast, terrorists launched an attack in southern Israel, igniting a war that risks erupting into a broader regional conflict. Although the initial economic repercussions were muted, reverberations have caused the most significant disruption to shipping through the Red Sea since the Ever Given container ship ran aground in the Suez Canal in 2021. While these impacts will be most acutely felt in Europe, the ripples will surely reach the U.S. economy and manufacturing sector. That compounds the risks facing European economies heading into winter. After narrowly avoiding an energy crisis by rapidly transitioning their energy supply following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, manufacturers are facing the same risks of elevated energy costs due to the cold.
While Europe may face a cold winter, things are about to heat up in the United States with the 2024 presidential election. In a typical election year, partisans tend to blame any real or perceived economic woe on the other side. The lessons of the 2020 election show that this has been taken to a new level. Recent surveys indicate a trend of consumer confidence being less tied to objective economic data than to whether the person you voted for is seated behind the Resolute Desk. As the primaries roll on and the general election approaches, it will be all the more important to have the data, insights and outlook from AMT’s 2024 Winter Economic Forum in your back pocket.
Content for the 2024 Winter Economic Forum will begin at 8:00 a.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 26. You can register to attend online or in person at AMTonline.org/events/2024-amt-winter-economic-forum.
You can reach out to Christopher Chidzik, principal economist at AMT, with questions about the event or any general economic inquiries.