Economists trim GDP forecast for US, but job growth estimates up

The outlook for growth for US gross domestic product over the next two years looks slightly lower from that of three months ago but picks up steam in 2018, according to the fourth-quarter Survey of Professional Forecasters released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. However, the 45 forecasters surveyed revised slightly upward their GDP estimate for 2015 and notably raised the 2018 estimate to 2.8% from 2.4% in the previous survey.

Growth in the US economy this quarter will be 2.6% at an annual rate, down from the previous estimate of 2.8%. The current projection for growth in the annual-average level of real GDP in 2015 rose to 2.4% in this survey from the previous estimate of 2.3%.

The forecasters revised upward their estimates for job gains in the first three quarters of 2016. However, projections for the annual-average level of nonfarm payroll employment suggest job gains at a monthly rate of 241,800 in 2015 — down from the previous estimate of 244,200  — and 197,000 in 2016, down from the previous estimate of 200,500.

Unemployment rate projections are slightly improved from those of the previous survey. The forecasters predict the unemployment rate will be an annual average of 5.3% in 2015, before falling to 5.0% in 2016, 4.8% in 2017 and 4.7% in 2018.


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