The world is starting 2024 on an optimistic economic note, as inflation fades globally and growth remains more resilient than many forecasters had expected. Yet one country stands out for its surprising strength: the United States.
After a sharp pop in prices rocked the world in 2021 and 2022 — fueled by supply chain breakdowns tied to the pandemic, then oil and food price spikes related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — many nations are now watching inflation recede. And that is happening without the painful recessions that many economists had expected as central banks raised interest rates to bring inflation under control.
But the details differ from place to place. Forecasters from the Federal Reserve to the International Monetary Fund have been most surprised at the remarkable strength of the U.S. economy, while growth in places like the United Kingdom and Germany remains more lackluster. The question is why America has pulled out ahead of other developed economies in the pack.
The I.M.F. said this week that it expected the United States to grow 2.1 percent, a sharp upgrade from the previous estimate of 1.5 percent. Other major advanced economies are also expected to grow, albeit less quickly. The euro area is expected to notch out 0.9 percent growth, as is Japan, and the United Kingdom is forecast to expand by 0.6 percent.
“This is a good situation, let’s be honest, this is a good economy,” Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, said at a news conference this week — two of nearly 20 times that he called the data “good” during his remarks.
Evidence of that strength continued on Friday, when a blockbuster jobs report showed that employers had added 353,000 jobs in January and wages grew at a rapid clip.