Sep 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

Economists set 2021 sights lower

A chart showing actual and predicted real U.S. GDP growth
NABE; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Business economists have tempered their 2021 growth expectations, cutting nearly a point off their annual GDP forecast since earlier this year, according to the NABE outlook survey released Monday.

Why it matters: This reflects increased concerns over the pandemic's impact on the economy, particularly due to the spread of Delta and other variants. Panelists said that a faster vaccine rollout could improve their outlooks.

By the numbers: NABE survey panelists project 5.7% real GDP growth for 2021, which is down from the 6.5% mark in May.

  • Anything above 4.8% would still be the highest annual GDP increase since 1984.
  • Panelists expect 2022 growth to be 4.2%, down from 4.4% in May.
  • Labor market expectations remained unchanged from May, with two-thirds of panelists still expecting non-farm payrolls to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of next year.

Only a small percentage of panelists felt that federal action or inaction on a large spending bill would have a significant impact on short-term growth, but most expect sharp inflation growth in 2021 and moderate inflation growth in 2022.

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