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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economists at Goldman Sachs raised their GDP growth expectations for the U.S. economy to 8% for 2021 in a note to clients on Sunday night.

Why it matters: If Goldman's forecast is correct, it would mark the largest economic expansion for the U.S. in generations.

  • Not only would 8% annual growth denote a stupendous turnaround from the coronavirus pandemic, it would significantly outpace the firm's growth expectations for the U.S. from as recently as late 2020.

What they're saying: "We have raised our GDP forecast to reflect the latest fiscal policy news and now expect 8% growth in 2021 (Q4/Q4) and an unemployment rate of 4% at end-2021 — the lowest among consensus forecasts—that falls to 3.5% in 2022 and 3.2% in 2023," Goldman said in the note.

  • "But we expect inflation dynamics to mirror those last cycle, and therefore expect this forecast to translate to only 2.1% core PCE inflation in 2023."

Between the lines: Goldman has been exceptionally bullish on the prospects for U.S. growth all year, far outpacing most other Wall Street banks' expectations.

  • The average growth expectation among Wall Street analysts is 4.7%, according to FactSet, and was 3.9% as recently as November.
  • Further, economic growth of 8% with inflation reaching just 2.1% would be almost unprecedented.

By the numbers: A growth of 8% this year would put U.S. GDP at around $22.6 trillion, marking a full recovery after the economy shrank 4.1% in 2020.

  • U.S. GDP hasn't grown 8% in a year since 1951, when it totaled $356 billion.

Of note: Goldman's metric tracks fourth quarter over fourth quarter growth, rather than year over year.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Saudi dissident claims MBS said he could get "poison ring" to kill king

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attending the Saudi Green Initiative Forum, via video link, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Photo: Royal Court of Saudi Arabia/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A former senior Saudi intelligence official who worked with the U.S. on counterterrorism alleged to "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed in 2014 killing the kingdom's then-monarch.

Why it matters: The claim by the exiled Saad al-Jabri, whom Saudi authorities describe as "a discredited former government official," that the crown prince, known as "MBS," allegedly said he could obtain a "ring from Russia" to carry out the attack, is one of several serious but unproven allegations he made on the CBS show.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.