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Forecasters See Stronger Growth

For release: 10 a.m.,
Contact: Katherine Dibling, E-mail senior media representative, (215) 574-4119

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The outlook for growth in the U.S. economy looks more positive now than it did just three months ago, according to 43 forecasters surveyed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in the First Quarter Survey of Professional Forecasters.


  • The forecasters see real GDP growing at an annual rate of 3.6 percent this quarter, up from the previous estimate of 2.4 percent.
  • The forecasters see real GDP growing 3.2 percent in 2011, up from their prediction of 2.5 percent in the last survey.
  • The forecasters predict real GDP will grow 3.1 percent in 2012 and 3.0 percent in 2013.

Labor Market

  • Unemployment is now projected to be an annual average of 9.1 percent in 2011, 8.5 percent in 2012, and 7.8 percent in 2013. These projections are lower than the projections in the last survey.
  • The forecasters have revised upward the growth in jobs over the next four quarters. They see nonfarm payroll employment growing at a rate of 129,100 jobs per month this quarter and 188,300 jobs per month next quarter.
  • The forecasters' projections for the annual-average level of nonfarm payroll employment suggest job gains at a monthly rate of 134,900 in 2011 and 226,100 in 2012.


  • The current outlook for the headline and core measures of CPI and PCE inflation during the next two years remains mostly unchanged.
  • The forecasters expect current-quarter headline CPI inflation to average 2.5 percent, up from the last survey's estimate of 1.6 percent. They also predict a higher current-quarter headline PCE inflation of 2.0 percent, up from the last survey's estimate of 1.5 percent.
  • Headline CPI inflation is expected to average 1.7 percent in 2011 and 2.0 percent in 2012, slightly higher than the forecast of 1.6 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively, in the last survey.
  • Forecasters expect fourth-quarter over fourth-quarter headline PCE inflation to average 1.6 percent in 2011, up from 1.4 percent in the last survey, and 1.8 percent in 2012, unchanged from the previous estimate.

Assistant Director and Manager, Real-Time Data Research Center, Tom Stark:

"The forecasters have increased their projections for economic growth and cut their projections for unemployment.

The forecast revisions are most pronounced for this quarter: Real GDP is expected to rise 3.6 percent at an annual rate, up from the previous projection of 2.4 percent, and unemployment is expected to average 9.3 percent, down from the previous projection of 9.5 percent."

The Survey of Professional Forecasters is a quarterly survey of economic forecasters from across the country. Participants are asked to provide their projections for a broad range of macroeconomic variables including real GDP, nonfarm payroll employment, and inflation indicators such as CPI and PCE. It is the oldest survey of macroeconomic forecasts in the United States. The survey began in 1968 and was conducted by the American Statistical Association and the National Bureau of Economic Research. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia took over the survey in 1990.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia helps formulate and implement monetary policy, supervises banks and bank holding companies, and provides financial services to depository institutions and the federal government. It is one of the 12 regional Reserve Banks that, together with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the Federal Reserve System. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank serves eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.


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