Business Economists Predict 3.2 Percent Economic Growth In 2010

One group of economists is predicting economic growth of over 3% in 2010, with positive job growth of 200,000 by the fourth quarter. Still, job growth is expected …

One group of economists is predicting economic growth of over 3% in 2010, with positive job growth of 200,000 by the fourth quarter. Still, job growth is expected to be slow, and unemployment still stubbornly high, with full recovery delayed until 2012. See the following article from Money Morning for more on this.

The U.S. economy will grow faster than expected next year, but job growth will begin later than previously thought, according to a survey of business economists.

A panel of 48 economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) showed gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States will grow by 3.2%, but job losses won’t bottom until the first quarter of next year. A previous NABE forecast said employers would add 12,000 to payrolls in that quarter.

“While the recovery has been jobless so far, that should change,” said Lynn Reaser, NABE president and chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. “Within the next few months, companies should be adding instead of cutting jobs.”

NABE’s GDP forecast is one of the most optimistic forecasts for the United States. Money Morning’s “Outlook 2010” series showed a range of U.S. growth between 1.0% and 2.0%.

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The U.S. economy “will be lucky to do 2.0%” next year, Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald said. “The economy faces some very difficult challenges. There’s a slight chance – depending on what happens with some outside factors – that the U.S. could do 2.5%, but I really doubt it. China could actually pull us along [to higher-than-expected growth], but those are some long odds.”

NABE panelists still see “a relatively sluggish consumer upturn,” but expect strong gains in housing, low inflation and a continuing rally of equities markets. Additionally, the majority of panelists believe the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policies will keep inflation low, but are “extremely” concerned about the nation’s high deficit, which will reach a record $1.6 trillion in 2009, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said earlier this year.

Jobless Recovery

The current jobless recovery “will not remain jobless for long,” the NABE said.

For the first time since 1983, unemployment cracked the psychologically important 10% barrier last month. Roughly 190,000 jobs in the United States were lost, surpassing economists’ estimates of 175,000 payroll cuts.

NABE expects job growth in the fourth quarter of next year to match the number of losses the United States is currently experiencing.

“We have been losing jobs on the order of about 200,000 per month in the last couple of months,” NABE’s Reaser said in an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) . “We think a year from now, companies will be adding about 200,000 jobs per month.”

Still, 61% of the economists polled by NABE say a complete recovery of more than 7.3 million jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007 won’t happen until 2012. Although job growth will return next year, the average unemployment rate in the fourth quarter will be “stubbornly high” at 9.6%.

This article has been republished from Money Morning. You can also view this article at
Money Morning, an investment news and analysis site.


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