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Philadelphia Fed Forecasters See Weaker Outlook

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (05/15/15)

The outlook for growth in the U.S. economy over the next three years looks weaker now than it did in February, according to 44 forecasters surveyed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The forecasters say real gross domestic product will grow at an annual rate of 2.5% this quarter and 3.1% next quarter. On an annual-average to annual-average basis, real GDP will grow 2.4% in 2015, down 0.8 percentage point from the previous estimate. The forecasters say real GDP will grow 2.8% each year in 2016 and 2017, and 2.5% in 2018.

A slightly brighter outlook for unemployment accompanies the weaker outlook for growth. The forecasters say that the unemployment rate will be an annual average of 5.4% in 2015, before falling to 5.0% in 2016, and 4.8% each year in 2017 and 2018. The projections for 2016, 2017, and 2018 are slightly below those of the last survey.

The panelists have revised downward their estimates for job gains in 2015 and 2016. The forecasters see nonfarm payroll employment growing at a rate of 195,300 jobs per month this quarter, 223,300 jobs per month next quarter, and 223,000 jobs per month in the fourth quarter of 2015. The forecasters’ projections for the annual-average level of nonfarm payroll employment suggest job gains at a monthly rate of 243,900 in 2015 and 180,100 in 2016.