The U.S. economy has been sending off some mixed signals in recent days.
Inflation is tame, while the unemployment rate is close to a 50-year low. Growth in the U.S. was close to a solid 3 percent in 2018, and the economy looks set to reach its longest expansion on record come midyear. But those bragging points have been matched with an equal amount of uncertainty.
Employers in February added the fewest amount of new positions to their payrolls since September 2017, signaling that hiring might have peaked, the Labor Department reported last week. Meanwhile, U.S. retail sales in December plunged by the most in nearly a decade and were revised down even more on Monday, questioning the confidence of the American consumer. Global concerns such as Brexit, trade frictions, and slowing growth in Europe and China are also threatening to pull the brakes.
Bankrate’s First-Quarter Economic Indicator survey asked economists whether these risks to the outlook are more heavily tilted toward the downside, the upside or balanced. The majority (76 percent) say the risks are weighed to the downside. Here’s a look at what some of the economists said will likely be the biggest risks to growth in the economy this year.