The probability of a recession in 2020 is waning, according to the keynote speaker of the Corridor Business Journal’s 2020 Economic Forecast Luncheon on Wednesday, the Corridor Business Journal reported. However, growth prospects for the economy this year are modest.

Kevin Depew, deputy chief economist for RSM US LLP, said 2019 economic growth will likely come in around 1.8% when the final data is available in the next few weeks, and 2020's GDP growth is forecast at 1.5%. He pegged the chances of a 2020 recession at about 1 in 4.

Deceleration of economic output from 1.8% to 1.5% would be "very significant," said Depew, because it leaves a low margin of error for the economy to stall out.

"The elephant in the room is the 'uncertainty tax' overhanging businesses relating to trade uncertainty and the trade war with China," he said. Four areas of the economy are currently in recession or stagnation — manufacturing, agriculture, logistics and energy — due in part to President Donald Trump’s trade war.

Another area of concern is lagging capital investment, as businesses hold off on borrowing for capital projects until they see where the trade conflict is headed. The recently announced Phase One trade deal with China won't resolve the concerns, because two-thirds of Chinese imports to the United States are still subject to tariffs, averaging about 21%.