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 16,982.59 22.02 0.13%
Nasdaq 4,444.91 -4.65 -0.10%
S&P 500 1,978.91 0.57 0.03%
Treasuries 2.49 0.02 0.89%
Data as of 11:42pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 99.02 1.99 2.05%
Facebook Inc 74.92 -0.06 -0.08%
Bank of America Corp... 15.50 -0.09 -0.58%
Dollar Tree Inc 54.87 -0.08 -0.15%
Family Dollar Stores... 75.74 15.08 24.86%
Data as of 4:03pm ET

Sections

Herbalife shares tumble after the maker of nutritional supplements reports earnings that fall short of analysts' estimates. More

New annual report from U.S. government shows the long-term prognosis for Medicare has improved thanks to slower health spending, while the outlook for Social Security remains unchanged. More

Online dating site OkCupid found its users were more likely to have conversations when it told them they were more compatible than in reality. More

Actor-founded This Bar Saves Lives had Hollywood connections, but learned Start-Up 101 the hard way. More

Steve Mason, a pastor from California, inherited more than $100,000 in student loan debt when his 27-year-old daughter died suddenly in 2009. With interest and late penalties, the debt has since ballooned to $200,000. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. 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.