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Economists Trim 2013 GDP Growth Forecasts

Wall Street Journal (08/16/13) Kathleen Madigan

A Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia third-quarter survey of 41 economists forecasts growth of 1.5% for the year, down sharply from 2% in May. The downward revision reflects both a refiguring of historical gross domestic product reported in July by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the economists’ expectations that the second half of the year will be less robust than they previously thought. The economists forecast GDP will grow 2.2% in the third quarter and 2.3% in the fourth quarter, down from 2.3% and 2.7%, respectively. Next year, the economists forecast GDP to grow 2.6%, down from 2.8% forecast in May.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is expected to decline to 7.3% in the fourth quarter, virtually unchanged from 7.4% forecast in May. However, hiring is expected to improve for the rest of the year. Nonfarm payrolls are projected to average a monthly increase of 174,000 in the second half, up from 158,000 previously projected. Next year, the unemployment rate is forecast to be 7.1%, and job growth is expected to average 180,100 a month, little different from 180,400 previously projected.