Remember Charlie Brown’s perennial frenemy Lucy? Just when things were looking good, when that perfect kick seemed so close, Lucy would yank the football away and leave our hero flat on his back.

America knows how Charlie Brown feels, according to University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith, the director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness. Snaith says we are deep into the “Lucy Recovery” – the series of promising signs followed by dashed hopes that have marked the country’s slog forward in the six years since the Great Recession.

“This economic recovery has made Charlie Browns out of a lot of economists, politicians and policymakers. For six years now the economy has repeatedly fooled many that it was embarking on a high trajectory of growth only to leave them lying on their back wondering what had happened.”

In his second quarter 2015 U.S. Economic Forecast, Snaith explains that two consecutive quarters of data in 2014 prompted some to herald the return of robust economic growth. Alas, the Lucy Recovery has snatched the football away. The last two quarters – 4th quarter 2015 and 1st quarter 2015 – saw Gross Domestic Product growth of just 2.2 and 0.2 percent, respectively. And Snaith predicts GDP growth will plod along at less than 3 percent through 2018.

For a look at the full report, click here.

Key predictions include:

  • The strength of the U.S. dollar will continue to slow export growth and boost import growth. Thus, net exports will increasingly hold down U.S. real GDP growth in the years to come.
  • Six years of stock market gains averaging in the double digits are coming to an end. The Fed will start raising interest rates in the 1st quarter of 2016, or possibly with a token increase in late 2015. The S&P 500 will average just 2.7 percent growth from 2016-2018.
  • Consumer spending was spurred higher by cheap gasoline, but the subsequent increase in gas prices has caused that brief euphoria to fade. Average growth in real consumer spending from 2015-2018 will average 2.8 percent, up slightly from the paltry 2.2 percent average increase during the recovery.
  • The housing market should slowly but steadily improve through 2017 when rising rates take their toll and housing starts level off. Housing starts will rise from around 1 million in 2014 to 1.48 million in 2018.
  • Snaith is a national expert in economics, forecasting, market sizing and economic analysis who authors quarterly reports about the state of the economy. Bloomberg News has named Snaith as one of the country’s most accurate forecasters for his predictions about the Federal Reserve’s benchmark interest rate, the Federal Funds rate.

    Snaith also is a member of several national forecasting panels, including The Wall Street Journal Economic Forecasting Survey,’s survey of leading economists, the Associated Press Economy Survey, the National Association of Business Economics Quarterly Outlook Survey Panel, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Survey of Professional Forecasters, the Livingston Survey, Bloomberg U.S. Economic Indicator Survey, Reuters U.S. Economy Survey, and USA Today Economic Survey Panel.

    The Institute for Economic Competitiveness strives to provide complete, accurate and timely national, state and regional forecasts and economic analyses. Through these analyses, the institute provides valuable resources to the public and private sectors for informed decision-makers.