The Year Ahead: Forces That Will Shape the US Rural Economy in 2018

By Brian Cavey , Tanner Ehmke , Thomas Halverson and Dan Kowalski

January 2018

As we begin 2018, there is a palpable sense of optimism about the current direction of the American economy. U.S. economic growth has exceeded 3 percent for two consecutive quarters. National unemployment remains very low, and monthly job creation continues to be strong. Inflation is well under control, and asset values are at or near all-time highs. Sweeping tax cuts passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump at the end of 2017 are providing immediate stimulus for the economy, even if the longer-term impacts of that legislation on deficits, interest rates and government spending are less clear.

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