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The U.S. economy is a consumer-driven economy. While consumer spending accounts for the largest part of GDP, business investment can drive changes in GDP growth. Weak business investment over the past two quarters has created a headwind for GDP growth. Some of this weakness stems from uncertainly surrounding the U.S.-China trade war. Case in point: durable goods orders (proxy for capital spending) leveled off through 2018 and then moved lower throughout 2019. In advance of this decline, business survey data signaled a decline in capital spending plans. Here’s the good news: survey data may have bottomed. If this is true, increases in actual business spending may follow.
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