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NABE’s US Outlook Survey (March 2021) – 59 percent employment will return to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2023 or later

The March 2021 NABE Outlook presents the consensus macroeconomic forecast of a panel of 53 professional forecasters (see last page for listing). The survey, covering the outlook for 2021 and 2022, was conducted February 8-February 16, 2021.

Highlights:

• NABE panelists have grown more optimistic about the prospects for economic growth in 2021. The median forecast for the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 calls for an increase of 3.4% in inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (real GDP), quarter-over-quarter (q/q) annualized. This growth rate would be less than the Q4 2020 growth rate of 4.1%, but higher than the December survey panel’s median forecast for Q1 2021 of 2.9%. The median forecasts for the remainder of 2021 have also risen from those in the December survey, to 5.2% in Q2 (from 3.5%), 5.6% in Q3 (from 3.2%), and 4.8% in Q4 (from 3.1%).

• The median forecast for the change in real GDP from Q4 2020 to Q4 2021 is 4.8%, compared to 3.4% in the December survey. The median real GDP growth estimate for 2022 is 3.0%.

• On an annual-average basis, the panel expects real GDP to increase 4.8% in 2021, but then to taper off to 4.0% growth in 2022.

• Panelists’ views regarding risks to growth in 2021 vary widely. Fifty-one percent view risks as skewed to the upside— an increase from 37% in the December survey. Less than a quarter of respondents (22%) sees more downside risks, while 25% view risks to the outlook as weighted neither to the upside or downside.

• A vast majority (82%) of panelists expects real GDP to return to pre-COVID-19 recession levels sometime in 2021, with most (52%) anticipating that to occur in the second half of the year (H2 2021). Fourteen percent of respondents indicate this will happen in 2022, and 4 percent think it will take until 2023 or later.

• The panel is less optimistic regarding a job market recovery, as 59 percent of survey respondents anticipate nonfarm payrolls will return to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2023 or later. Twenty-seven percent expect this to occur in H2 2022, and 10 percent expect it in H1 2022.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ March 2021 Outlook Survey Summary

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