Every year the Associated Press interviews top economists and asks them for their thoughts on the coming year. This year we have good news:
The three dozen private, corporate and academic economists expect the economy to grow 2.4 percent next year. In 2011, it likely grew less than 2 percent.
The year is ending on an upswing. The economy has generated at least 100,000 new jobs for five months in a row — the longest such streak since 2006.
The number of people applying for unemployment benefits has dropped to the lowest level since April 2008. The trend suggests that layoffs have all but stopped and hiring could pick up.
While a 2.4% growth rate isn’t as large as we would like to see, it does represent a better than 20% increase over last year’s numbers. As long as we continue to grow, every little bit helps. However, the employment picture doesn’t seem to look ay brighter for next year that for this year:
Unemployment will barely fall from the current 8.6 percent rate, though, by the time President Barack Obama runs for re-election in November, the economists say.
Not only has this economic crisis been deep but it’s been wide. We’re gonna be looking at elevated unemployment for years to come.