NRF's Annual Economic Forecast and Response to State of the Union Address
Retail sales have been on the rise in recent years, and 2019 will likely be no different.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts that this year, retail sales will see an increase between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent totaling more than $3.8 trillion. This number includes online and other non-store sales, which are also projected to increase 10-12 percent alone.
President and CEO Matthew Shay had this to say after the last night’s State of the Union Address:
Retailers agree that the state of the U.S. economy is sound and expect American consumers to continue to drive growth in the year ahead. Our top priority is for Congress to focus on areas of common ground in order to keep the economy moving forward.
Rebuilding the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, modernizing North American trade, advancing commonsense immigration reform, protecting consumer privacy, fostering innovation and promoting workforce development are all areas where Republicans and Democrats can reach across the aisle and get things done — while keeping the government’s lights on.
We commend the president for his efforts to restore balanced trade relationships, and we hope the U.S. and China will continue to move toward a deal and avoid further escalation. Achieving structural reforms, ending existing tariffs and putting an end to the trade war would provide much-needed certainty and relief for American businesses and families. We encourage the administration to continue to focus on the end goal, and for Congress to restore rather than further neglect its role in trade policy.
The state of the union is indeed strong, and we have an opportunity to make it even stronger. Let’s take it.
NRF projects the overall economy to gain an average of 170,000 jobs per month, and that unemployment will drop to 3.5 percent from 4 percent by the end of the year.
Inflation and interest rates are expected to stay pretty low this year as well.
Tariffs could be the only real issue for 2019. For the most part, retailers have a handle on the impact new tariffs have on steel and aluminum goods from China. However, if tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products rise from 10 to 25 percent as currently slated for March 1, the cost of consumer products will take a hit.