U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told ABC's "This Week" that the economy “is moving strongly in the right direction" on Sunday and recent economic data certainly backs up Lew's comments. But do business leaders feel confident about the state of the economy?
In a new study out from Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, 87% of executives expect the U.S. economy to grow next year. Nearly one-half of all executives surveyed feel the economy will experience “slow growth” in 2015.
David Williams, CEO of Deloitte's Financial Advisory says that is a good sign. “Nobody is really saying that we are going to be having a booming economy, but also nobody is saying we’re going to have a recession.”
The U.S. economy grew at the fastest rate in eight years in the second quarter of 2014 and growth numbers for the third quarter will be out in a few weeks. But the big question for investors and business leaders alike remains: when will the Federal Reserve begin raising interest rates?
Friday's employment report from the Labor Department may make that answer a little more clear. A surprising 248,000 jobs were created in the month September following a 180,000 increase in August. The unemployment rate is now at a six-year low of 5.9 percent.
Many economists think that these numbers support the assumption the Fed will raise rates in June. According to the Deloitte study, 21% of executives think the Federal Reserve will tighten monetary policy too soon but 37% believe the central bank will tighten it too late. Williams says those who think the Fed won’t act soon enough are, "saying they are concerned about inflation and interest rates have been so low for so long. And perhaps there are asset bubbles associated with that as well.”
Business leaders feel the biggest threat to the economy right now is the Middle East with 35% saying that was their top concern. China was the second biggest concern with 22% feeling it was the top threat. "People are concerned fundamentally about what can mess things up. And they don’t see very much domestically that can mess things up," says Williams. "I think most people’s concerns about the big mess up is something that is going to happen outside United States."
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