Economists Cut Predictions for Job and Economic Growth in First Quarter

March 14, 2019

After a series of government reports that showed stalled job creation, sluggish inflation, and declining retail sales, economists have sharply lowered their predictions for economic growth. In a new survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, economists predicted 1.3 percent growth for the first quarter. This is a marked decline from the 2 percent growth that they predicted in a survey from February. If their predictions are accurate, the first quarter will be slowest since 2015.

The survey asked 66 business, financial and academic economists questions about the coming year. Most of them, 84 percent, felt the economy would grow “slowly” over the next 12 months. The most common concern, voiced by nearly half of the respondents, was trade concerns with China. The vast majority, 88.7 percent, felt that the global economic slowdown would “somewhat” affect the U.S. economy, but only 6.5 percent thought the impact would be severe.

The economists also cut their expectations for job creation. They expect the economy to average 170,805 new jobs per month, down from the 207,583 they predicted in February.

While their expectations of growth have slowed, their odds of a coming recession remained about the same. Almost half anticipate a recession to start in 2020, while a third expect one in 2021.

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