Economy Watch: NABE Forecasts Strong Economic Growth in 2018-2019

Economic growth in 2018 is expected to be stronger than the 2.3 percent annual GDP growth rate in 2017, according to the latest NABE Outlook.

The professional economic forecasters surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics in its latest NABE Outlook are more optimistic about the direction of the U.S. economy than even three months ago, when the last survey was done. For instance, the respondents’ median forecast for growth in real U.S. gross domestic product is 2.9 percent between the fourth quarter of 2017 and fourth-quarter 2018, and 2.5 percent between fourth-quarter 2018 and fourth-quarter 2019.

The forecast for 2017-2018 represents an upward revision from the 2.4 percent in the December 2017 Outlook Survey. Overall, the panel expects economic growth in 2018 to be stronger than the 2.3 percent annual GDP growth rate in 2017. The respondents’ median forecast for average annual GDP growth in 2019 is a little less than 2018, coming in at 2.7 percent.

Growth in real nonresidential fixed investment in 2018, part of which is commercial real estate, is expected to pick up speed, according to the survey. The forecast for 2018 is 5.3 percent growth in that sector, an uptick from the 4.7 percent growth rate in 2017. That outlook is more optimistic than the 4.2 percent growth rate projected in the December survey.

Growth in real spending on residential investment in 2018 is forecast to beat 2017, the respondents also said. Their median forecast is for growth of 3.6 percent, up from 2.7 percent in the December survey, and a solid increase from the actual 1.8 percent in 2017. The median forecast calls for residential investment growth to soften slightly in 2019 to 3.4 percent.