Business economists, according to a new industry survey, are feeling guardedly skeptical regarding growth in the next year.
The survey, conducted by the National Association for Business Economics, shows a decided minority of association and corporate economists expecting growth to surpass the 3 percent mark between now and most of next year.
That finding, in the association’s fall 2019 survey, indicates that 20 percent of respondents are felling bullish about next-year growth, a number far lower than the 48 percent predicting substantial growth last year at this time.
Some 69 percent also said they were anticipating a lower Gross Domestic Product growth of anywhere from 1.1 percent to 2.0 percent in 2020.
In looking at the numbers, Constance Hunter, president of the NABE, said, “Many of the survey indicators in this report are at their lowest levels in several years.”
But Hunter, in a statement, added: “It is important to note, however, that all respondents still expect the current economic expansion to continue over the next 12 months.”
One of the reasons for the decline in optimism, said Hunter, was the impact in the last year of U.S.-imposed tariffs on the country’s trading partners.
On a more positive note, the survey revealed that the challenge of attracting and holding onto qualified labor may be declining, with 43 percent reporting skilled labor shortages, compared with 53 percent earlier this year.
Those same respondents said that the firms they work with have moved to respond to ongoing staff shortage challenges, with 43 percent reporting that those firms have raised wages as a means of retaining talented and skilled staff.
By Garry Boulard
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