News / Economy

Economic Turbulence Forecast for 2012

There are encouraging signs for the world's largest economy as 2011 comes to an end. American consumers are spending more, the housing market is improving, and employers are laying off fewer workers.

But the unresolved debt crisis in Europe, the slowdown in China and U.S. spending cuts pose a serious challenge for policy makers as 2012 begins.

High unemployment in the United States, rising debt and Congress' inability to do anything about it were major stories in 2011.  But some bright spots are emerging as the year comes to a close, according to George L. Perry, a senior fellow for economic studies at the Brookings Institution.

"One was the export sector which grew really very well. Another area was construction outside of home building. Business construction was picking up and construction in particular areas like commercial."

U.S. unemployment is at its lowest level in more than two and a half years, and consumer confidence is rising. But there are dark clouds ahead as the New Year begins.  China, the world's fastest growing economy, is slowing down, and Europe's debt crisis shows few signs of easing.  

"We export a great deal to Europe," Perry points out. "And if Europe falls into another recession, that export growth is going to end. And that will affect jobs in the U.S. and cause the U.S. to move towards recession."

Rising inflation and the slowdown in Chinese manufacturing have already curbed demand for some commodities.  But the slowdown is due in part to Beijing's efforts to prevent its economy from overheating, adds Perry.

Reflecting on the global uncertainty, World Bank President Robert Zoellick urged Europe and its biggest trading partners to act responsibly.

"Europe has to rescue Europe, okay? And it's very important. If there's any message when I'm asked, 'Well, what can the U.S. do and what can China do?' The best thing they can do is clean up their act at home, be a source of growth at home, and, secondly, be a source of confidence to the market."

Zoellick is encouraged by ongoing reforms in China aimed at reducing the country's reliance on exports, but he warned U.S. lawmakers against further delays in dealing with the nation's rising debt, now close to $15 trillion.

"The downgrade of America from triple A didn't affect the finances today, but it may be one of those events people look back on 10 years from now and say, 'Did they get the warning? Did they pay attention or did they continue to do what they were doing?'"

Unless leaders are willing to make the tough decisions needed to stabilize the global economy, Zoellick and many leading economists say problems in Europe, the U.S. and China could coalesce into a "perfect storm" in 2012 that could rival the financial crisis of 2008.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.