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Forecasters See Slightly Slower Growth as the Unemployment Outlook Holds Steady

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (08/14/15)

The outlook for growth over the next four years in the U.S. economy looks slightly lower from that of three months ago, according to 42 forecasters surveyed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The panel expects real gross domestic product to grow at an annual rate of 2.7% this quarter, and 2.8% next quarter. Forecasters forecast that real GDP will grow 2.3% in 2015, down from the previous 2.4%, on an annual-average to annual-average basis. The forecasters estimate real GDP will grow 2.8% in 2016, 2.6% in 2017, and 2.4% in 2018.

The outlook for the labor market remains nearly unchanged. Forecasters predict the unemployment rate will be an annual average 5.3% in 2015, before slipping to 5.0% in 2016, 4.8% in 2017, and 4.7% in 2018—these projections are nearly the same as those detailed in the previous survey. Forecasters have revised their estimates for job gains in 2015 and 2016 as well, highlighting a slight uptick from previous projections. Projections for the annual-average level of nonfarm payroll employment suggest job gains at a monthly rate of 244,200 in 2015, up slightly from the previous estimate of 243,900, and 200,500 in 2016, up from the previous estimate of 180,100.