Roger Altman on the U.S. economy and generative AI: Trial Balance

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The Trial Balance is CFO’s weekly preview of stories, stats, and events to help you prepare.

Part 1: Roger Altman talks economy, AI and growth

Roger Altman, founder of Evercore and former Secretary of the Treasury during the Clinton Administration, joined Bloomberg Television over the weekend to offer his thoughts on the U.S. economy’s growth potential, as well as where he believes Generative AI is in terms of its impact on growth.

“At this moment, looks to us at Evercore as though the U.S. economy is growing about 2.7%. I don’t see any sharp stalling of that … in the offing. And parenthetically, corporate profits are doing well, the market looks at that and says, ‘This is exactly what we wanted.’ We wanted inflation to come down, which allows the Fed to cut the federal funds rate and turn toward monetary ease. That’s now happening; it looks like a soft landing … From a market point of view, it couldn’t be better in terms of macroeconomics, which I think is why all the major indices are right around records.”

With regards to the impact of generative AI, Altman was asked about how, during earnings calls, once executives bring it up and the stock price goes up, they’re essentially stuck.

“As to whether, from an industrial point of view, generative AI is profound or not, the answer, I think, clearly is yes, it is profound. Yes, it is transformative. Some of the presentations I’ve listened to recently, both from companies and more generally at conferences and the like, are stunning. In terms of the anticipated transformative effect of this, including in the next few years, I think what a lot of people may not have internalized yet is how fast it’s happening.”

When asked what companies are looking for from generative AI, Altman focused on productivity.

“I think the answer is productivity. But let’s differentiate between the relatively few companies that are at the epicenter of AI … And I think in the second category, it’s still in its infancy. If you go around and talk to some of the most basic American companies, they’re just beginning to implement this.”

Part 2: 2024 events still on the docket

Here’s a preview of the some of the many events coming up in 2024 that CFOs should be aware of.

Keep up to date on CFO-centric events with’s Annual conferences and events tracker

Part 3: The week ahead

In the spirit of the Fourth of July holiday, reporter Adam Zaki will publish a Q&A with Fireworks Over America CFO Nathan Carter. Carter discusses his industry’s uniquely challenging procurement processes, the risks associated with delivering fireworks at scale, his plans to light off fireworks on the Fourth of July weekend in the Ozarks and more. (7/3)

Here’s a list of important market events slated for the week ahead.

Monday, July 1

  • S&P final U.S. manufacturing PMI, June
  • Construction spending, May
  • ISM Manufacturing, June

Tuesday, July 2

Wednesday, July 3

  • ADP private payrolls, June
  • S&P global US Services PMI, June final
  • S&P Global US composite PMI, June final
  • ISM services, June
  • Factory orders, May
  • Minutes of Fed’s June FOMC meeting

Thursday, July 4 — Holiday

Friday, July 5

  • U.S. employment report, June
  • U.S. unemployment rate, June
  • U.S. hourly wages, June

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