The International Monetary Fund on Thursday slashed its forecasts for U.S. economic growth, calling for the Federal Reserve to hold off its first rate increase in nearly a decade until 2016.
In its annual review of the U.S. economy, the IMF said a series of negative shocks, including a strong dollar and bad weather, had sapped momentum for job creation and expansion, prompting a downgrade to its growth expectations to 2.5% for the year. Its last estimate in April was for a 3.1% expansion.
The West Coast port labor dispute and the collapse in oil-sector investment amid plummeting energy prices also dragged on growth in the first quarter. Long-term unemployment and high levels of part-time work point to continued slack in the labor market, with wage data showing only tepid growth.
The dollar, which has surged against other major currencies in the past year as the U.S. economy strengthened and other central banks revved up their easy-money policies, is damping growth and job creation. The IMF said the currency already is “moderately overvalued” and further marked appreciation of the dollar would be harmful to the U.S. economy.