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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.

Pope Francis denounces European governments' migrant response

Pope Francis adresses refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos on Sunday. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis criticized European countries' response to migrants and asylum seekers during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos Sunday.

Why it matters: The pope said "migration is a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone," but little had changed in the global response to displaced peoples since his first visit to Lesbos five years ago, per a transcript of his remarks. "Human lives, real people, are at stake. ... let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!"

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."