/  About Us / Details
December 27, 2018

2019 - "A Riddle, Wrapped in a Mystery, Inside an Enigma" (article)

CBIZ helps with M&A.

This marks the 12th consecutive year for CBIZ CMF having some fun with publishing our annual predictions on economic matters, socio-political issues, and industry trends. In trying to understand the drivers of 2019, we were reminded of Winston Churchill's comments in 1939 regarding Russia, "A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma."

With so much in flux, predictions for next year feel more like guesses. Our 2019 predictions include Sheryl Sanberg out at Facebook, Tiger Woods winning a major, and the average U.S. purchase multiple reported by PitchBook is below 10x. 

Economic Predictions for 2019

  • U.S. Unemployment Increases from 3.9% to 4.0%
  • Labor Participation Rate Steady at 62.8%
  • U.S. GDP Growth Decreases from 3.0% to 2.2%
  • WTI Crude Oil Prices Per Barrel Decreases from $67.28 to $63.00
  • 10-Year Treasury Note Rate Increases from 2.92% to 3.0%
  • GBP/USD Exchange Rate Decreases from $1.34 to $1.25
  • EUR/USD Exchange Rate Decreases from $1.19 to $1.15
  • USD/CNY Exchange Rate Increases from ¥6.59 to ¥6.90
  • U.S. Savings Rate Decreases from 6.6% to 4.0%

Socio-Political Predictions for 2019

  • Sheryl Sandberg is no longer employed by Facebook
  • No resolution to Brexit
  • Resolution of most major tariff and trade issues with China
  • Tiger Woods wins a major

Industry Predictions for 2019

  • The average multiple reported by PitchBook is below 10x from an average of 11.9x in 2018 (Reported by PitchBook’s Q3 U.S. PE Breakdown)
  • Housing prices in San Francisco / Bay Area down at least 15%
  • 10% of Business Development Corporations (BDCs) become technically insolvent
  • Pressure from Congress and the Administration lowers drug and medical device costs

2018 Predictions versus 2018 Actual Results

Economic Predictions


Prediction in Nov. '17 for Jan.- Nov '18

Average Jan.-Nov. '18

Results (Difference)

U.S. Unemployment

↓ from 4.38% to 3.90%



Labor Participation Rate

↑ from 62.9% to 63.30%



U.S. GDP Growth

↑ from 2.5% to 3.0%



WTI Crude Oil Prices Per Barrel

↑ from $49.61 to $51.00



Federal Funds Rate

↑ from 0.97% to 1.50%



Ten-Year Treasury Note Rate

↑ from $2.31 to $2.70



GBP/USD Exchange Rate

↑ from $1.29 to $1.37




↑ from $1.12 to $1.25



USD/CNY Exchange Rate

↑ from ¥6.77 to ¥6.90



U.S. Savings Rate

↓ from 4.36% to 3.20%



U.S. Exports Per Month

↑ from 1.0% (from $193,220 to $195,152)



1. U.S. GDP growth average is taken from Q1, Q2 & Q3.

2. Oil average is taken from Jan.-Oct.

3. Savings Rate is an average of Jan.-Oct.

4. Exports per month is an average of Jan.-Oct.

Socio-Political Predictions

Prediction in November 2017


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is removed from power

No, Bashar al-Assad is still in power, but today only controls half of Syria.

Republicans increase majority to at least 56 seats in Senate.

No, although Republicans still control the Senate, they only have 53 seats.

Women will enter congressional races at numbers never seen before in the U.S. and will win 40 new seats in the House.

Yes, there was a record number of women running for the House and Senate. 36 new women won House seats and there will be at least 102 women in the House next year - the largest number in U.S. history.

Brazil's economy grows by 2.5%.

No, through Q3 Brazil's economy grew at 1.3% and is expected to reach 2.3% in 2019.

An all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl (Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles)

No, although the Philadelphia Eagles did make it to the Super Bowl and won their first title, the PIttsburgh Steelers lost in the divisional round of playoffs.

Industry Predictions

Prediction in November 2017


Amazon picks Austin, TX to build second headquarters

No, Amazon picked New York City and Northern Virginia for its second and third headquarters (HQ2), but Apple just announced an investment of $1 billion and 5,000 new jobs in Austin.

Sears is liquidated

Not yet. On October 15, 2018, Sears entered Chapter 11, with few options to continue as a going concern.

Bitcoin price declines from $8,000 to $4,000 per Bitcoin

Yes, Bitcoin price is currently approximately $4,000 and has decreased substantially from last year.

The number of closed deals reported by PitchBook increases by 10%

No, according to PitchBook's 3Q US PE Breakdown, a 3,501 deals closed through 3Q which is a 2.1% increase over the first three quarters of 2017.

Average purchase multiples reported by PitchBook is 10.5x

Although multiples remain elevated, they are at 11.9x according to PitchBook's 3Q US PE Breakdown report.

Copyright © 2018 CBIZ, Inc. All rights reserved. Contents of this publication may not be reproduced without the express written consent of CBIZ. This publication is distributed with the understanding that CBIZ is not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice. The reader is advised to contact a tax professional prior to taking any action based upon this information. CBIZ assumes no liability whatsoever in connection with the use of this information and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in tax laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.

CBIZ MHM is the brand name for CBIZ MHM, LLC, a national professional services company providing tax, financial advisory and consulting services to individuals, tax-exempt organizations and a wide range of publicly-traded and privately-held companies. CBIZ MHM, LLC is a fully owned subsidiary of CBIZ, Inc. (NYSE: CBZ).

COVID-19 Resources

Access all COVID-19 related articles to help your busisness respond to the pandemic.

Insights in Your Inbox