Most Forecasters Do Not Expect US Job Market Recovery Until 2023

WASHINGTON, Mar 1 (XINHUA/APP): Some 59 percent of panelists do not anticipate a full recovery in the US job market to pre-pandemic employment levels until 2023 or later, according to a survey released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE).

The March 2021 NABE Outlook, which presents the consensus macroeconomic forecast of a panel of 53 professional forecasters, was conducted on Feb. 8-16.

“While NABE panelists have become increasingly optimistic about future GDP (gross domestic product) growth, their views on the job market are less so,” said Survey Chair Holly Wade, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Research Center.

Roughly two-thirds (68 percent) of the panelists indicate that up to 5 percent of jobs will be permanently lost due to the health crisis, broadly in line with views in the survey released in December, the latest survey showed. Twenty-three percent of respondents anticipate that between 5 percent and 14.9 percent of job losses will be permanent, while the remaining 9 percent of respondents are unsure.

The survey showed that NABE panelists have grown more optimistic about the prospects for economic growth in 2021, with a 4.8-percent median forecast for the change in real GDP from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to 3.4 percent in the December survey. A vast majority (82 percent) of the panelists expect real GDP to return to pre-COVID-19 recession levels sometime in 2021, with most (52 percent) anticipating that to occur in the second half of the year.

On an annual-average basis, the panel expects real GDP to increase 4.8 percent in 2021, but then to “taper off” to a 4-percent growth in 2022, according to the survey. “About half of the respondents considers the balance of risks to economic growth in 2021 to be to the upside, whereas fewer than one-quarter expects the balance to be to the downside,” Wade said. “Panelists point to a large fiscal stimulus program and a faster vaccine roll-out as the main upside risks,” she added.

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