28 January 2013 16:35 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US business economists are more confident about the nation’s economy and jobs picture than they were just three months ago, with survey results on Monday suggesting that US GDP growth could be at or near normal for 2013.
In its regular quarterly survey of economists at US corporations, trade groups and think tanks, the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) said that company leaders are “planning for stronger economic growth in the coming year  than they were when the survey was last conducted three months ago”.
Timothy Gill, NABE survey chairman, reported that nearly all survey respondents said that the nation’s economy will expand during 2013, but the business economists were split 50-50 on how strong GDP expansion will be.
Half of those surveyed said that their company’s internal planning for this year assumes real GDP growth of between 2% and 4%.
Economists consider “normal” gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the US to be in the 3% to 3.5% range annually. Between 1947 and 2012, US annual GDP growth averaged 3.25%.
In the NABE survey conducted in October last year, economists’ expectations for 2013 full-year GDP growth were more conservative, with a majority predicting expansion of only 2.4% for the year.
However, in the current survey results, half of the responding business economists expect US GDP this year to be below 2%.
The survey indicates that “the economy continues to soldier on”, said Gill.
“Sales growth [in the fourth quarter last year] was stable, even amid widespread uncertainty surrounding the potential impact of the fiscal cliff,” Gill said, “but gains in profit margins slowed”.
However, the economy is poised to improve, he said.
“Hiring plans are reportedly picking up, though capital expansion plans are slowing,” Gill said.
“Still, more firms expect to add jobs and boost capital spending that cut them in 2013,” he added.
Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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