22 April 2013 18:54 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US business economists said on Monday that the nation’s first quarter economic activity expanded at its strongest pace in a year, and they expect still better performance in the near term.
In its survey of first quarter activity, the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) said that a majority of corporate economists reported sales gains in the first three months of this year.
“The survey also reflects increased gains in profit margins and capital spending following slowdowns in the previous quarter,” the association said.
Overall, said NABE, business economists are “more upbeat regarding the economic outlook than in the January survey, with nearly two-thirds of respondents indicating that they are planning for real GDP growth to exceed 2% in the coming year”.
Only half of surveyed economists shared that 2% GDP expectation when the previous sampling was done in January.
However, NABE noted too that employment growth was virtually unchanged in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2012.
In addition, the association said that optimism among the responding economists “is restrained”, with less than 5% of them expecting the US economy to reach its usual annual GDP growth rate of 3% to 3.5% anytime soon.
Economists’ optimism, said NABE, is being hindered by continuing uncertainty about the global economy, the possibility of further US federal spending cuts, and “a challenging regulatory environment”.
Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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