Monday, August 31, 2009

The Recession is Over! At least the Latest Survey of Professional Forecasters Thinks So...

"The Survey of Professional Forecasters is the oldest quarterly 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 Survey of Professional Forecasters' web page offers the actual releases, documentation, mean and median forecasts of all the respondents as well as the individual responses from each economist. The individual responses are kept confidential by using identification numbers." - quoted from the Federal Bank of Philadelphia

"From the forecasters' perception, it looks like the recession may be over" - Tom Starks, Manager of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Research Department

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According to the survey results, here's what we can expect in the upcoming months:

1) Forecasters See Improved Prospects for Growth, But A More Sluggish Labor Market

They expect a jump in GDP% to go from .4% from last year 3rd quarter to 2.4% in 2009; Unemployment is expected to hold steady, and total payrolls will be down slightly representing lower pay per person due to salary cutbacks, etc.

2. Little Change in the Outlook for Inflation Beyond 2009

The forecasters are raised their estimates for headline and core inflation in 2009. Comparing 4th quarters, headline and core CPI inflation will average 0.7 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, in 2009. These are up from the previous estimates of 0.4 percent and 1.3 percent in the last survey. Similarly, headline and core inflation in the price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE) will average 0.9 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, in 2009, marking upward revisions from 0.6 percent and 1.3 percent previously.

3. Lower Risk of a Downturn in the Current Quarter

According to Tom Stark, Manager of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Research Department, the forecasters reduced their estimates of a downturn from 1 out of 2 times to 1 out of 4 times.

Other Key Notes from Survey

Job Losses are expected to "lag" behind the economic recovery. They are expected to fall from the current rate of 415,000 losses per month to 25,000 per month in 2010.

To view the entire report of the Survey of Professional Forecasters and to listen to Kathy Dibling and Tom Stark of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve explain the results of the "Survey of Professional Forecasters" - 3rd Quarter 2009.

Click Here for the brief interview and to see the entire report


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