Brian Higginbotham

Former Senior Economist

Brian Higginbotham is former senior economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Latest Content


Tariffs on China and the U.S. Manufacturing Industry: A Crisis in Confidence

A number of recent business and consumer surveys are showing a lack of economic confidence caused by recent tariff actions against China.

FCC Announces New Satellite Regulations at U.S. Chamber Event

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced smallsat draft regulations at the U.S. Chamber’s Procurement and Space Industry Council roundtable July 9.

Space Debris Concerns Create ‘Dust-Up’ Between the FCC and Commerce

Over the decades of human space travel, thousands of objects are now in orbit above the earth. They include working satellites and the International Space Station, but they also include old, out-of-commission satellites, used rocket components, and even a wrench and toothbrush.

Entitlement Lies on the Campaign Trail

Election years are the best of times, and the worst of times, for reasoned major policy discussions. They are the best of times because candidates and the country tend during elections to focus on big issues. The current crop of presidential candidates has done an extraordinary job of demonstrating why elections years are also the worst of times as the candidates have thoroughly mangled important policy issues. One area where this is especially pronounced is with the candidates’ positions on entitlements, such as the future of the Social Security program.

U.S. Economy Returns to a Slow and Steady Path

On July 30 the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its report on GDP, including the first look at second quarter growth and revised data for the previous three years. Depending on one’s time horizon and political perspective, this report has been characterized as showing the economy back on track, growth over the last few years more stable than previously thought, and this recovery not only abnormally weak but the weakest in the post-depression era. Confusingly, all these characterizations are accurate.

Dollars & Sense: The Crawling Recovery Continues

The expansion following the 2007–2009 recession has been among the weakest on record and certainly the weakest since World War II.

Dollars and Sense: Just How Strong, or Weak, Is the Labor Market?

When economists discuss economic growth, they typically distinguish between short-term fluctuations and long-term drivers. The reason for the distinction is that the vicissitudes of quarterly growth patterns rarely affect the long-term drivers of economic growth. However, there are instances in which a one-time shock has lasting effects beyond the business cycle.

U.S. Chamber Quarterly Spring 2015: Housing Sector Appears Healthier Despite Uncertainty

As the Fed begins to normalize monetary policy, its actions will likely alter the path of all interest rates. This will affect the performance of interest rate-sensitive industries, particularly the housing market.

Trends in Business Investment

In mid-2014 the economy finally showed some signs of sustained strength, and several important indicators improved. One key to a stronger recovery and a sign of recent improvement is the acceleration in business investment. Business investment recovered rapidly immediately following the recession. But it then trailed off and remained anemic as the hoped for sustained burst of consumption never materialized.

CBO's Annual Report Debunks the Belief That We Can Postpone Entitlement Reform

Congressional Budget Office (CBO)’s latest outlook projects slightly smaller budget deficits in 2015 and 2016, but the real takeaway should be the return to trillion dollar deficits starting in 2025.

Why a Slight Nudge in Support of Entitlement Reform is the Right Strategy

The imminent shortfall in the Disability Insurance program marks an important test of our resolve to address the nation’s fiscal challenges.

An Update on Entitlement Threats

The nature and magnitude of our nation’s future fiscal troubles were emphasized by the Social Security and Medicare Trustees when they released their updated projections on the health of the respective programs this summer.

2014: A (Bit) Better Outlook

After too many years of anemic growth, it appears that the recovery may be gaining a little better traction. Overall growth last year probably hit 2.0% or so, even slower than the average of 2.3% since the end of the recession in 2009. We expect considerably better growth this year, accelerating to near 3.0%. This month we look at reasons for our more optimistic forecast.

Sources of Strength