Accounting for a quarter of the world’s GDP, the US remains a global powerhouse with only China within its reach.
The economy has recovered slowly after the recession in 2008-09, and in recent years has grown impressively, with GDP rising 4.2% in the second quarter of 2018. The most recent reports suggest that consumer spending is strong, with economists estimating annualised consumer spending rose by 3.5% in the third quarter of 2018.
The US unemployment rate dropped to 3.7% in September – its lowest level since 1969, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And, thanks to the more buoyant economy, some employers have increased wages. Amazon said it would boost its hourly rate for full-time and temporary staff to US$15 (£11.50) from November.
US foreign policy is focused on strengthening the border and fighting terrorism. Under Trump’s leadership, the US has become fixated on immigration and creating policies to restrict the number of people entering the country as well as those of certain nationalities.
Since Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, US domestic and foreign policy has continued to generate headlines, with his trade wars with both China and the EU being felt across the globe.
The retail outlook
Thanks to tax cuts, low unemployment and rising incomes, consumer spending continues to grow, with retail sales up 4.7% in September 2018 compared with the previous year, according to the US Department of Commerce. US retail ecommerce sales rose 3.9% to $127.3bn (£97.4bn) for the second quarter of 2018. However, US online sales account for just 9% of total sales – compared with 16% in the UK and 28% in China, according to Statista.