Forecasters see weak economy, higher unemployment
By J. Aversa, AP Economics Writer
First the good news: The worst of the painful housing slump and the credit crunch might come to an end this year. Now the bad: The economy will weaken further and unemployment will rise.
That’s the latest outlook from forecasters in a survey to be released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics, also known by its acronym NABE. It will take time for any rays of light to poke through the economic clouds, though.
A growing number of economists believe the country is on the brink of a recession or in one already, dragged down by all the problems in housing, credit and financial markets. Now 56 percent of the economists think the economy has started or will enter a recession this year. That’s up from 45 percent in a survey in February. If there is a recession, it probably will be short and shallow, economists said.
Forecasters downgraded their projections for economic growth. They now predict the economy, which grew by 2.2 percent last year, will slow to 1.4 percent this year. That’s lower than the 1.8 percent growth projected in February. If the new figure proves correct, it would mark the weakest growth since the last recession in 2001.