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Economists expect GDP growth to exceed 2% in next four quarters: NABE

October 29 2018

US economic growth is expected to continue for the next 12 months, according to the “October 2018 NABE Business Conditions Survey” released today by the National Association for Business Economics, an organization of business economists and others who use economics in the workplace.

While the panel’s outlook for real GDP growth is slightly more optimistic than in the July survey, it remains consistent with expectations expressed in the last four surveys. Ninety percent of the panelists/respondents expect real GDP growth of more than 2% in the coming four quarters, with 74% anticipating growth in the range of 2.1% to 3.0%.

Tight labor market conditions with skilled labor shortages continue to push firms to raise wages, increase training, and consider additional automation, according to NABE Business Conditions Survey Chair Sara Rutledge, an independent real estate economist.

Job growth was not as widespread during the third quarter of 2018 as in the previous two quarters. Less than a third of respondents report rising employment at their firms over the past three months, while 61% indicate hiring was unchanged.

Forty-seven percent of respondents reported shortages of skilled labor at their firms, a significant increase from 39% in July as well 36% in the year-ago survey. The October result implies that the tightening labor market continues to have a perceptible adverse impact on the hiring of skilled labor by businesses. The percentage of respondents reporting difficulty hiring unskilled labor, while still low at 13%, has doubled from that reported in October 2017.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents from firms that are struggling to hire report that their firms are raising wages, 35% are training internally, and 23% are investing in labor-saving processes.

The survey was conducted between Sept. 26 and Oct. 11, 2018. It included 127 members of NABE.

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