Economists expect moderate growth in 2012: NABE
The nation's gross domestic product will grow at a modest 2.5% in the final quarter of this year and by 2.4% in 2012, according to economists responding to the latest National Association of Business Economics survey, which managed to find some bright spots concerning next year's economic outlook. "Business spending remains a strong positive and housing starts are expected to continue to rise from the bottom seen in 2010," the report said. Corporate profits and stocks are predicted to strengthen. Economists surveyed expect housing starts to reach 600,000 units in 2011, just slightly above the 2010 total. Housing starts are expected to increase 10% in 2012. The 2012 figure was revised downward slightly from the September estimate of 700,000 units to 660,000 units. Respondents expect the odds of a recession to be low, but said consumer spending will remain muted at about 2.1% growth in 2012, well below the historic norm of 2.8%. Unemployment is expected to decline only marginally, with accommodative monetary policy remaining. Monthly job gains are expected to rise steadily over the forecast horizon, from an average of 100,000 during the fourth quarter of 2011 to 130,000 by the end of next year. The jobless rate will decline from 9.1% to 8.7% in 2012. The European debt crisis also remains a concern. The November NABE outlook presents the consensus of macroeconomic forecasts from a panel of 49 professional forecasters. It was conducted Oct. 20- Nov. 2. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.