[Update 1: includes details on federal funds rate, Treasury yields, mortgage rates projections.] Economic recovery will maintain its current pace, leading to job growth later this year, according to the American Bankers Association‘s (ABA) Economic Advisory Committee (EAC). “We’re on the cusp of private industry job creation, which will gain momentum throughout the year,” said Stuart Hoffman, EAC chairman and a chief economist with PNC Financial Services (PNC), in an e-mailed statement Friday. High unemployment and constrained consumer spending will keep the speed of recovery in check, but ABA economists indicated real gross domestic product (GDP) will grow at an annualized rate of 3.1% throughout 2010. It’s half the historic rate of GDP growth seen after previous deep recessions, leaving the unemployment rate fairly high – but below 10% – at year-end. The U-3 unemployment rate, calculated by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, was at 10% in December. In 2007, the unemployment rate was at 4.6%, rising to 5.8% in 2008 and ending 2009 at an average 9.3%, according to HousingWire‘s review of publicly available data. A look at the U-6 underemployment data, shows a much larger percentage of the workforce is not employed to full capacity. This figure remained high in Q409 – slipping from 17.4% in October to 17.2% in November before inching up to 17.3% in December. “The recession technically ended last year,” Hoffman said. “However, the normal rapid economic rebound seen in the first year or so following past deep recessions will not occur.” ABA noted that monetary and fiscal policies helped restart the economy, and banks are now working hard to keep credit flowing to consumers and businesses. Additionally, private sector investment should gain momentum as policy stimulus wanes. The ABA expects the Federal Reserve to begin raising the federal funds rate in the second half of 2010, ending the year at 0.75%. Ten-year Treasury yields should rise to to 4.4% and mortgage rates are projected to rise to 6.2%. Write to Diana Golobay.
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