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Economists raise 2019 job growth forecast but expect slowdown in 2020

March 22, 2019

Economists raised their estimate for job gains this year but expect a slowdown in 2020, according to the first-quarter Survey of Professional Forecasters released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

The projections for the annual average level of nonfarm payroll employment now suggest job gains at a monthly rate of 191,800 in 2019, up from the previous estimate of 181,900. However, the forecast calls for new jobs added monthly in 2020 to fall to 123,200.

A slightly weaker outlook for the unemployment rate for the next few quarters accompanies a weaker outlook for near-term GDP growth.

The jobless rate forecasts for the second and third quarters of this year both edged up to 3.7% from 3.6%, and the new report forecasts the 3.7% unemployment rate to remain through the first quarter of 2020 as well.

The Survey of Professional Forecasters is based on a poll of 38 economists.

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