The global economy took a bigger hit in 2019 than anticipated, slowing to 2.3 percent in 2019, down from 3.3 percent in 2017 and 3.0 percent in 2018. The slowdown is disconcerting because over the past two decades, a dip in global growth below 2 percent has often meant recessions in the form of GDP contractions across a broad range of regional economies. Recession fears are currently widespread but appear to be overblown. We expect global growth to remain slow but slightly improve next year, reaching 2.5 percent.
Overall, we have arrived in a world of stagnating growth. While no widespread global recession has occurred in the last decade, global growth has now dropped below its long-term trend of around 2.7 percent. The fact that global GDP growth has not declined even more in recent years is mainly due to solid consumer spending and strong labor markets in most large economies around the world. Of course, current conditions and future challenges differ in regions throughout the world. In this edition of the Global Economic Outlook, we’ve included regional sections for the US, Asia, and Europe that describe the underlying forces that will shape growth in the short and medium term. The overarching theme of this year’s outlook is stagnating growth and stalling globalization and what this means for business.
 According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a global recession is an extended period of economic weakness around the world. The IMF has identified four global recessions since World War II, beginning in 1975, 1982, 1991, and 2009. The Conference Board dates the beginning of these global downturns at July 1990, September 2000, and January 2008, and initial recoveries in August 1982, March 1991, October 2001, and March 2009. (For more information, see our Global Business Cycle Indicators).
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