USA Today (02/10/14) Paul Davidson; Barbara Hansen
According to a USA Today quarterly survey of economists, the U.S. economy is headed for stronger growth this year, which will lead to steady declines in the unemployment rate. In January, the jobless rate dipped to a five-year low of 6.6%, and median forecasts indicate it will fall to 6.3% by year end. Job gains averaged 194,000 a month last year and economists say they are likely to reach a monthly average of 200,000 this year.
While the economy is off to a slow start in 2014, thanks to financial turmoil in emerging markets, drops in stock prices, and extreme winter weather, economists suggest that growth will accelerate to reach a solid 2.8% for the year. Improving fundamentals remain intact, according to economists, and more than 80% of those surveyed said the optimistic outlook on growth for the year was not hampered by recent stock sell-offs or emerging market volatility. Sixty-four percent said their 2014 forecasts are more likely to prove too conservative than too optimistic.