WASHINGTON — Private economists have revised forecasts for the unemployment rate this year down to 8.3% and are “seeing strength” in recent economic data, according to the latest survey of the National Association for Business Economics released Monday.
The jobless rate forecast is down from 8.9% in November. Average monthly payrolls were projected at 170,000 this year, up from 127,000 forecast in the last NABE outlook in November. Economists see 2013 unemployment at 7.8%, with average monthly payroll gains of 183,000.
The survey left its gross domestic product forecast unchanged at 2.4%, with growth strengthening in the second half and rising to 2.8% in 2013. First-quarter growth this year was revised down to 2.0%, while second-quarter GDP was revised up to 2.4%.
Panelists took the Federal Reserve at its word that it will keep the federal funds rate near zero through the end of 2013, though economists expect long-term Treasury yields to rise steadily as the time for tightening approaches. The 10-year yield is seen at 2.5% by the end of this year, rising to 3.0% at the end of 2013.