Official forecasts show steady growth this year, before slowing slightly in subsequent years.
The UK was the fastest growing G7 economy in 2016 and growth in the Eurozone also surpassed that in the US. But the US is forecast to be the fastest growing major advanced economy this year.
Movements in the bond and currency markets are a barometer of investor expectations about a country’s economic prospects.
Since the most recent US election, the bond market has reflected a consensus that the US economy faces an inauspicious future of lacklustre growth and muted inflationary pressures.
Treasury bond prices have fallen sharply since Donald Trump’s election, driving benchmark yields to multiyear highs. Yields above 2.6 per cent mark the start of a secular bear market, according to Janus bond manager Bill Gross.
The dollar remains buoyant against most major currencies.
As the world’s reserve currency, a stronger dollar presents problems for many financial markets, from foreign holders of government debt facing higher repayments to producers of commodities that are priced in dollars.
The strengthening jobs market has been core to the Federal Reserve’s debates on whether to raise interest rates.
As the economy approaches full employment, officials believe wage growth will start getting driven up and that inflation could accelerate above the central bank’s 2 per cent target, arguing for rates to be lifted further.
US job growth and employment have been strong, while wages have seen only small growth. This suggests there may still be some slack in the labour force.
A measure of how much economic output is generated for a unit of input, rising productivity is seen as one of the only ways to improve living standards, at a time when advanced and some emerging economies are seeing ageing populations and a rapidly increasing retirement rate.
Growth in the US though, along with many other western economies, has been alarmingly slow since the financial crisis.
Since the economic crisis, productivity has risen only very slowly in the US. Economists disagree on the reasons, with explanations ranging from investment being too low, to the boon from the tech revolution dissipating to innovations not being measured correctly.
While there have been some recent patchy signals of productivity improvements, there is not yet a solid direction of travel. Policymakers have warned America’s prospects for much higher wage growth may be held back by the country’s poor productivity performance.
The Federal Reserve looks closely at its inflation target of 2 per cent, using it as a metric policymakers must feel ‘reasonably confident’ about before raising interest rates.
CPI, the headline inflation reading, measures the weighted average price of a basket of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food and medical costs.
Core inflation, which strips out the impact of food and fuel, is the metric most closely watched by policymakers to gauge whether domestic price pressures are increasing.
A stronger economy has given the Federal Reserve cover this year to accelerate its pace of interest rate increases. Prior to 2017, the Fed had increased rates only twice over the course of two years.
Rates have been at rock-bottom levels since the financial crisis. While they are starting to rise, on the Federal Reserve’s own projections they will not return to pre-crisis levels in the foreseeable future. The effective rate is the average of what banks are actually paying each other, hence the fluctuations in the graph.
Although rates have see-sawed on previous turmoil in the financial markets, long-term mortgage rates, which are far more common in the US than many other countries, are still relatively low in historic terms.
As the labour market has strengthened, so has US consumer spending. Wage growth has remained subdued, however. There are few signs of runaway spending growth, with consumers staying in a cautious mood.
One question that has perplexed policymakers is the apparent reluctance of US consumers to spend the savings from the oil price fall. Sales however have firmed in recent months, suggesting some of that hesitancy is dissipating.
Confidence among US consumers remains comfortably higher than in recent years. The metric jumped even further following the US election.
Sales of new homes have rebounded in recent months as the housing market regains some steam as solid jobs growth gives more people the means to buy. However the volumes sold remain substantially lower than seen pre-crisis.