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Growth Forecasts Have Been Too Optimistic in 13 of the Last 16 Years

MarketWatch (12/28/15) Greg Robb

Economists forecast gross domestic product will grow in 2016 at a 2.6% rate, the fastest pace since 2006, according to a survey of economists compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. However, a new study by Goldman Sachs economists David Mericle and Daan Struyven points out that economists in the Philadelphia Fed Survey of Professional Forecasters have been overly optimistic about growth in 13 out of the last 16 years since 2000. At the start of 2015, for example, most forecasters, including Goldman, expected real GDP to accelerate to approximately 3% this year, but they have since lowered that approximation to 2.3%.

Goldman says most economists have not marked down the economy’s long-run speed limit given demographic and structural shifts, which could contribute to the trend of overestimated growth.