The Oklahoman

Business economists now predict slower economic growth in 2021


NEW YORK – The nation’s business economists now expect slower economic growth this year due to the widespread delta variant of the coronaviru­s, while also saying the economy could improve more quickly next year as vaccinatio­ns become more accepted.

In a survey being released Monday, the National Associatio­n for Business Economics found that its panel now expects full-year economic growth of 5.6%, down from a forecast for 6.7% growth in NABE’s previous survey in May.

However, economists raised their forecast for 2022 economic growth to 3.5% from a previous outlook of 2.8%.

The NABE’s findings are based on the responses of 47 forecaster­s earlier this month.

Inflation should remain at elevated levels through the fourth quarter before moderating next year, the panelists predict.

While NABE’s survey now sees inflation coming in this year at a hot 5.1% year-over-year, economists appear to believe the higher prices will mostly prove to be temporary. Inflation is expected to moderate next year to a level of 2.4%.

The coronaviru­s remains the dominant variable around how the U.S. economy will do for the rest of the year and into 2022, according to NABE.

Roughly two-thirds of those surveyed see a potential vaccine-resistant version of the coronaviru­s being the biggest risk to the economy. A faster rollout of vaccines, however, would provide the biggest upside to the economy this year and next year, roughly half of the panelists said.

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