Despite being past the election and first part of the fiscal cliff, the macroeconomic environment globally and in the US is still uncertain. There are many underlying structural issues in developed countries unsolved, with government and central bank policy risks ahead.
In the US, the upcoming and likely painful political debate around spending and the budget could further stress confidence in the short term. This may cause more continued caution in the corporate sector.
The regulatory environment also remains a concern for companies. Questions loom around tax policy, the implementation of health care, and financial reform.
Even with these headwinds, and despite negative GDP in the fourth quarter for the first time since 2009, I believe that the slow growth trend remains intact. We expect the economy to expand at a similar rate in 2013 as in 2012. The year is likely to start off slower and accelerate as the year progresses, assuming fiscal cliff part two does not derail the recovery.