Economists: Recovery is firmly on track

By Chavon Sutton, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Leading economists are upbeat about the U.S. recovery, forecasting steady growth over the next two years as businesses grow and jobs return, according to a survey released Monday.

"We see a healthy expansion under way, although it will take time to reduce economic slack and repair damaged balance sheets," said Lynn Reaser, president of the National Association for Business Economics, which conducted the survey of 48 top economic forecasters in late January and early February.

The NABE panel says it "expects the recovery to remain firmly on track." Its forecast is for the economy to grow 3.1% in both 2010 and 2011, an estimate that is essentially unchanged from the 3.2% target in NABE's November survey. The group's estimate is a marked improvement from last year's survey, which had forecast that the economy would contract.

Most economists surveyed expect the recovery to be led by businesses. The NABE estimates that corporate earnings will grow 15% this year, which will spur hiring and ultimately bolster household spending.

"Businesses are in position to take up some of the slack because of rebounding profits," said Reaser, who is also chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University. "Our economists believe improvement in sales and profits will cause them to put out the hiring signs relatively soon," said Reaser.

The NABE panelists expect that jobs will return slowly this year, forecasting an average monthly increase of 50,000 jobs in the first quarter, followed by average monthly job gains of 103,000 the rest of the year. The unemployment rate, which now stands at 9.7%, is expected to tick down to 9.6% by the fourth quarter.

As jobs return, so will consumer spending, which should rise by 2.2% in 2010 and then climb 2.8% in 2011. These relatively small gains can be attributed to the fact that Americans are still feeling financially conservative.

"Overall, our economists believe we are on a fairly healthy growth track and their will be no double dip recession," said Reaser. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.14%
Treasuries 2.72 0.08 3.19%
Data as of 5:16am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.15 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 58.94 0.00 0.00%
General Electric Co 26.56 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.19 -0.02 -0.09%
Micron Technology In... 23.91 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Apr 17
Sponsors

Sections

GM won't have to tell customers to keep their recalled cars parked until fixed, after a federal judge denied emergency motion Thursday. More

Obamacare sign ups hit 8 million, though final enrollment remains to be seen. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

As Detroit moves closer to reaching a bankruptcy deal, retired civilian workers are poised to be left worse off than firemen and police officers. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.