Economists forecasting moderate 2013 growth

Posted: December 17, 2012 at 11:41 a.m.

— In its latest survey of top forecasters, the National Association for Business Economics is expecting the economy to grow by 2.1 percent in 2012, compared to 2.2 percent growth in 2012 — a pace that reflects the same tepid growth the country has seen since the recession ended in mid-2009.

Growth at that pace won’t be strong enough to significantly improve the jobs picture, with the 48 economists participating in the survey estimating that unemployment will average 7.7 percent for all of next year.

The economists also forecast growth in the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, at 1.6 percent in the current October-December quarter, down from 2.7 percent growth in the July-September period. Part of that slowdown, the economists believe, will reflect the disruptions caused by Superstorm Sandy, which slammed into the Northeast on Oct. 29.

Those surveyed are expecting GDP growth at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter followed by rates of 2.4 percent in the April-June quarter, 2.6 percent in the third quarter and 3 percent in the fourth quarter next year.

Read more in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.