Research >> Economics

Forecasters Predict Slightly Lower Growth over the Next Three Years


Growth in the U.S. economy looks slightly weaker now than it did three months ago, according to 42 forecasters surveyed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia before the election on November 8. The forecasters expect real GDP to grow at an annual rate of 2.2 percent this quarter and in each of the next four quarters in 2017. On an annual-average over annual-average basis, the forecasters see real GDP growing 1.5 percent in 2016, no change from the estimate in the survey of three months ago. The forecasters predict real GDP will grow 2.2 percent in 2017, 2.1 percent in 2018, and 2.1 percent in 2019. The forecasts for 2017, 2018, and 2019 are slightly weaker than the previous estimates.

The projections for unemployment are little changed from those of the previous survey. The forecasters predict the unemployment rate will average 4.9 percent in 2016, before falling to 4.7 percent in 2017, 4.6 percent in 2018, and 4.7 percent in 2019. The current projections for 2018 and 2019 are unchanged from those of the previous survey.

On the employment front, the forecasters have revised upward marginally their estimates for job gains in 2016 and 2017. The forecasters’ projections for the annual-average level of nonfarm payroll employment suggest job gains at a monthly rate of 206,000 in 2016, up slightly from the previous estimate of 204,600, and 173,600 in 2017, up from the previous estimate of 161,100. (These annual-average estimates are computed as the year-to-year change in the annual-average level of nonfarm payroll employment, converted to a monthly rate.)

Inflation Outlook Holds Steady
The forecasters see little change in the outlook for headline CPI inflation compared with their predictions of three months ago. Measured on a fourth-quarter over fourth-quarter basis, headline CPI inflation is expected to average 1.5 percent in 2016, 2.2 percent in 2017, and 2.2 percent in 2018. The projections for headline PCE inflation over the next three years remained unchanged from the survey of three months ago. Measured on a fourth-quarter over fourth-quarter basis, headline PCE inflation is expected to average 1.4 percent in 2016, 1.9 percent in 2017, and 2.0 percent in 2018.

Over the next 10 years, 2016 to 2025, the forecasters expect headline CPI inflation to average 2.22 percent at an annual rate, up slightly from the previous estimate of 2.15 percent. The corresponding estimate for 10-year annual-average PCE inflation is 2.00 percent, which is unchanged from the previous estimate.

Downward Revisions Characterize the Risk of a Negative Quarter
The forecasters see much less than a one-in-five chance of a contraction in real GDP in any of the next five quarters. For the current quarter, they predict a 9.9 percent chance of negative growth, down from 15.6 percent in the survey of three months ago. The forecasters also see a lower probability of a negative quarter in the first three quarters in 2017 than they estimated three months ago.






Posted: November 14, 2016 Monday 10:00 AM




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