US Economic Growth Will Lag Behind Global Rate, IMF Forecasts

Article excerpt

The world's economic growth rate will be 4.8 percent this year, while the US rate will be 2.6 percent, the IMF predicted Wednesday.

The United States may still have the world's largest economy, but it is no longer the economic engine the world looks to for pulling out of a recession - at least not this time.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday offered a slightly rosier picture for global economic growth through the end of the year than it predicted in July. That outlook is based on robust growth in China and other emerging economies like Brazil and despite lackluster performances by the world's advanced economies - like the US.

Revising upward - if ever so slightly - its forecast for global economic growth for the year, the IMF now predicts an annual growth rate of 4.8 percent. The July outlook was for 4.6 percent annual growth.

The IMF's report comes out ahead of this weekend's fall meeting of the IMF and World Bank in Washington.

The slightly improved forecast for the world economy could not offset other, more worrisome signs that stand out in the IMF's quarterly prognostications:

- Growth in the world's wealthy countries stands out as particularly weak when compared with that in other post-recession recoveries. According to the IMF, the US economy will grow 2.6 percent this year - considerably lower than the 3.3 percent annual growth rate the IMF predicted for the US in July. Forecasts for Western Europe and Japan are even bleaker.

- More than 210 million people are officially unemployed around the world - a jump of more than 30 million since the global recession began. That number won't come down much unless the world economy continues to grow, the IMF says - and that will require stronger growth in advanced economies, which means revved-up consumer spending.

- Growth rates are expected to fall back across the board next year: Worldwide economic growth will slip slightly to 4.2 percent, the IMF says, while China's growth will dip less than a percentage point to 9. …