All of the speakers at the 2008 World Business Forum mentioned or alluded to the financial sector mess, but only one offered a prediction for what will happen in the U.S. economy in the near term. Jack Welch’s exact words: “we are in for one hell of a deep downturn.“
Long a believer that the U.S. economy could avoid a recession, Welch has now changed his position. “Get ready for real tough times. They’re coming. There is no credit available.”
He predicts Q3 GDP growth to be flat +/- 1 pt., Q4 to be negative, and the first half of next year to be particularly ugly. And this assumes that the bailout (or whatever you prefer to call it) is passed by Congress.
The Forum was tremendous; this weekend I’ll share a few other insights I gleaned from the presentations.