A Fearless Forecast for 2023

Things seem to get more unpredictable every year. Luckily for you, our crackerjack team of prognosticators has your back with our Fearless Forecast for 2023. Grab a chair and prepare to be informed. (To see how we did predicting 2022), click here. 

1. Progressives Will Stick with Elon. Elon Musk’s tumultuous acquisition of Twitter has left-leaning Americans in a bit of a stew. Due to Musk’s decision to remove controls on right-wing conspiracists and hate speech, some of them have already left the platform while others have threatened to. Don’t believe the hype. Conservatives went through a similar process two years ago and threatened to go to Trump-friendly alternatives. Remember Parler? Neither do we. Even as Twitter endures financial and managerial problems, progressives – including journalists, celebrities and political types, all of whom rely on Twitter – will stay and tweet, perhaps through gritted teeth.

2. There Will Be Fewer Choices for President. Compared to 2019 and 2015, when each political party fielded about 20 legitimate candidates, we will see a significantly limited presidential field at the end of 2023. Despite the uneasiness of his own party, President Biden is likely to seek re-election and draw limited Democratic opposition. On the Republican side, former President Trump could face a stiff challenge from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or another candidate. But Trump voters are committed to their candidate in a way that splintering the vote among his challengers would ensure that he will be the ’24 nominee – an outcome Republican anti-Trumpers want to avoid. So look for most would-be GOP candidates to sit this one out. 

3. Retirements Will Exacerbate Workforce Woes. If the job market recedes, as some economists predict, there could be one potential positive outcome: Fewer employment opportunities would lessen the impact of the workforce shortage that businesses have experienced since the pandemic. Except, there will be an accelerated exodus in older workers that will shrink the labor force even further at an inopportune time. Professional service employees in their 60s and 70s will opt for retirement in greater numbers as more employers ask their teams to return to the office. Some of these seasoned workers may be worried that they are more vulnerable to the health risks of a crowded office; others may simply decide they like being at home after working from their houses for two or three years. The result will be fewer experienced workers who are equipped to train the next generation of employees.

4. Jerome H. Powell Will Be the 2023 TIME Person of the Year. Our economy is in for turmoil, though it remains to be seen whether it will level out with a hard or soft landing. One thing is certain, though: Economists and the U.S. Federal Reserve have their work cut out for them. The Fed in particular will have significant policy and economic decisions to make that will have far-reaching effects on inflation, housing, purchasing power and savings. For that reason, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell tops our list of early contenders for TIME’s Person of the Year 2023.

5. Outlaw Country Will Be the New Rock and Roll. A quick glance at Billboard’s top 100 albums suggests that the only remaining popular rock bands are from the 1970s — Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Elton John and CCR. But though rock might be dead, a worthy successor will clearly take its place in 2023: Outlaw country. Musicians like Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton, already filling the rock and roll void, will begin to gain greater fame outside country music arenas, along with other genre-crossing artists like Brandi Carlile (who has already stepped in on occasion to fill the sizable rock shoes left by Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell). This new brand of rock will have all the hard beats, electric riffs and passionate performances of rock’s heyday, but will also include nods to outlaw country’s roots, making sure rock’s good times aren’t over.