According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Covid shrunk the global economy by 3.3 percent in 2020, the worst downturn since 1980. Almost 100 million people slipped into severe poverty.
The only major economy that didn’t shrink was China’s with growth of 2.3 percent. The IMF predict it will be 8.4 percent this year.
But perhaps the biggest surprise is the U.S. It may just be the powerhouse of global growth this year. The IMF had been predicting its economy would grow 5.1 percent but has now upped that to 6.4 percent, strongest in decades.
The reason for the revised prediction is largely the trillions of dollars in relief spending the U.S. Congress has passed with trillions more coming for an infrastructure and jobs plan. The expectation of global growth has been raised accordingly.
According to IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath, “Thanks to the ingenuity of the scientific community, hundreds of millions of people are being vaccinated, and this is expected to power recoveries in many countries later this year. Additional fiscal support in large economies—particularly the United States—has further improved the outlook.”
While China’s predicted growth rate exceeds that of the U.S., the American rate applies to an economy 50 percent larger than China’s. And it’s dollars that count, not percents.
It’s hard to hold the U.S. back. Four years of incompetence and regression under Trump, and still it sets the pace.