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NABE: Subpar Recovery Persists; Forecasters Expect Improvement in 2013

May 22, 2012, 08:00 AM
Filed Under: Economy

The May 2012 National Association for Business Economics (NABE) Outlook presents the consensus of macroeconomic forecasts from a panel of 54 professional forecasters. The survey, covering the outlook for 2012 and 2013, was conducted April 19- May 2, 2012.
Summary: “Economists responding to the latest NABE Outlook Survey expect moderate growth in the near-term with improvement coming in the post-election year,” said NABE Outlook Survey Chair Shawn DuBravac, chief economist at the Consumer Electronics Association. “While several forecasts have weakened slightly, there are also some signs of improvement. Expectations for housing, vehicle sales, employment, and industrial production all improved in the current survey. However, expectations for overall economic growth as measured by inflation-adjusted gross domestic product, business investment, and consumer spending remain below historical norms.”


  • Panelists have become less optimistic about investment spending in 2012. The projection for real spending growth on nonresidential structures for 2012 was lowered from 4.2 percent in February to 2.9 percent in May, but was increased for 2013 to 5.5 percent.
  • The NABE Outlook panel of 54 forecasters maintain modest expectations for inflation-adjusted (real) gross domestic product (GDP) growth through 2013.
  • The outlook for employment growth continues to brighten. In the current survey, panelists raised their anticipated average monthly job change for 2012 to 188,000 (nonfarm payrolls), up from the 170,000 anticipated in the previous survey.
  • Consumer spending improves. Panelists currently believe that consumer spending will increase marginally—by 2.2 percent—this year and by 2.5 percent in 2013.
  • Housing starts are expected to increase 18 percent in 2012. The economists surveyed expect housing starts will reach 720,000 units in 2012, up from 610,000 in 2011, and a slight upward revision from the February forecast. The forecastfor 2013 shows continued improvement, with housing starts reaching 850,000 units, unchanged from the previous survey.


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