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Economists raise forecast for US job growth, outlook on unemployment rate mostly unchanged

November 13, 2018

Economists raised their estimates for job gains this year and in 2019 but kept their outlook for the unemployment rate mostly unchanged, according to the fourth-quarter Survey of Professional Forecasters released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

The economists expect the unemployment rate to average 3.7% in this quarter as well as the first quarter of next year, unchanged from the previous forecast.

The jobless rate forecasts for the second and third quarters of next year are also unchanged at 3.6%; the new report forecasts the 3.6% unemployment rate to remain through the fourth quarter of 2019 as well.

The projections for the annual-average level of nonfarm payroll employment now suggest job gains at a monthly rate of 198,500 in 2018, up from the previous estimate of 194,800. For 2019, the forecast now calls for 181,900 new jobs monthly, up from 167,800 estimated three months ago. 

The Survey of Professional Forecasters is based on a poll of 37 economists.

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