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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A group of top economists have perked up their expectations for U.S. growth next year, predicting the economy will bounce back to its 2019 level earlier than expected.

What's happening: The National Association for Business Economics released its latest outlook showing 73% of panelists believe that the economy will have returned to pre-pandemic GDP levels by the second half of 2021.

  • That's a notable improvement from August when more than 60% of the group's economists predicted U.S. GDP would remain below its 2019 level until at least 2022, with nearly 50% expecting the rebound wouldn't happen until the second quarter.
  • Just 18% now expect it will take until the first half of 2022 for the economy to reach its 2019 size.

What they're saying: “NABE panelists have become more optimistic, on balance, with nearly one-third revising their outlook higher based on recent news of effective vaccines,” NABE survey chair Holly Wade said in a statement.

  • “Just over one-third of respondents anticipate more downside risk to economic growth in 2021," said Wade, executive director at NFIB Research Center.
  • “Panelists point to a second wave of COVID-19 cases as their main concern.”

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Dec 15, 2020 - Economy & Business

The inequality is getting harder to ignore

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the frenzy in IPOs and the overall stock market continues, data show overall consumer confidence is languishing and concern about income inequality is rising.

Driving the news: A new survey from research and data firm CivicScience provided exclusively to Axios shows 78% of Americans are at least somewhat concerned about the rising level of inequality in the U.S. and 48% are very concerned.

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.