The National Association for Business Economics said its quarterly survey of economists foresees continued moderate growth through 2013 as the economy continues a "subpar" recovery.
The 54 economists who participated in the survey predicted mixed results for several economic gauges but were more optimistic overall than in their most recent survey three months ago.
"Expectations for housing, vehicle sales, employment, and industrial production all improved in the current survey. However, expectations for overall economic growth as measured by inflation-adjusted gross domestic product, business investment, and consumer spending remain below historical norms,” survey chair Shawn DuBravac wrote.
The economists’ consensus forecast was that the economy will add an average of 188,000 non-farm jobs a month this year. Three months ago, the NABE survey participants forecast 170,000 a month.
The latest survey expects the unemployment rate to inch down to 8 percent by year end, and drop to 7.5 percent at the end of 2013. The previous survey forecast an 8.5 percent unemployment rate at the end of this year.
The economists forecast GDP growth of 2.4 percent this year and 2.8 percent next year. Other forecasts include consumer spending growth of 2.2 percent this year and 2.5 percent next year, and housing starts of 720,000 this year, compared with 610,000 in 2011. The forecast for housing starts next year was unchanged at 850,000.