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April 23, 2001

Signs of a World-Wide Slowdown

"The U.S. remains weak. Europe and Asia-Pacific were good for us in the first quarter, but growth is clearly moderating. There are no clear signs the picture is improving any time soon," said James McNerney, CEO of 3M.

3M's CEO certainly doesn't give anyone a reason to expect a speedy recovery for the U.S. economy. In fact, with the slowdown just beginning to show in Europe and Asia, it looks like the recession will be more global than local.

Some of the biggest economies in the world are grinding to a halt -- largely because they are so dependent on the American consumer and on the strength of our markets. Many commentators have suggested that because other economies are much more diverse, it is not necessarily true that "when the U.S. sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold." But, as the world's largest economy weakens, other economies will begin to topple. And it will set off a vicious circle, as overseas investors, banks, and governments strapped for cash sell off their U.S. bonds and equities, driving U.S. markets and the economy further downward.

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