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Economy and Tech in 2020

How exciting! A brand new decade is unfolding! As we look out on the new year and new decade, here are considerations about the US economy and technology. The not so good - The US is predicted to head into an economic slowdown GDP (gross domestic product, a critical indicator of the health of the economy) is predicted to grow at a 1.6% annualized rate in 2020. This would match 2011 and 2016 for the weakest performance since the recession in 2009. American corporate debt, equal to nearly 50% of GDP, has never been higher. Debt makes companies more vulnerable to risk, including slowing sales and higher costs. When companies hold more debt and the economy is growing slowly, this can lead to bankruptcy. This is one factor that will set financial markets on edge. The other factor is the US/ China tariff war. While trade alone is not enough to pose a severe recession threat, it will hit business confidence, and that impacts the entire economy. When business confidence decreases, it can bring down capital investment. That can impact hiring and job creation. If this happens, that would have an impact on consumer spending, which comprises nearly 70% of the country's output. With this potential economic scenario, it most likely that the federal reserve will cut rates in attempts to ward off global slow down. Of course, this will mean that banking may increase in fees. What does this mean for credit unions and the member? The member may take a belt-tightening to their spending and look to the credit union to help them save more and spend less. Providing financial wellness programs in the first quarter would be an excellent proactive activity to take. The good 2020 will see another Olympics, this time hosted by Tokyo. An Olympics not only provides an economic benefit to the host nation, but it can lead to merchandise sales for countries with strong Olympic traditions. While this may not be a significant economic lift to the US, It does consumers another spending opportunity. And speaking of spending Online spending for 2020 predicted to be $600 bn. And an increasingly larger portion of these purchases will go to Walmart, who has been slowly and surely working on its digital transformation for a few years. This means that Amazon could finally see a worthy opponent in the online retailing space. The tech Gartner is predicting that the global number of devices embedded with sensors will leap from 8.4 bn in 2017 to 20.4 in 2020. Embedded sensors are the critical ingredient to IoT (internet of things), and with the rollout of 5G in 2020, this creates an environment for increased IoT applications. And the data Always looking for new inspirations from another highly regulated industry, 2020 is going to see an increase in personalized medicine due to medical data growing to exceed 2,000 exabytes. New features will be personalized treatments, AI-assisted cures, and increasing remote consultations. When will credit unions start created personal financial treatments and AI-assisted financial "cures"? Regardless of what happens this year, let's try to make it the best 2020 it can be!

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