Growth and hiring outlook improves

Economists are optimistic that the recovery will continue in 2010, as the pace of job losses slows and hiring picks up, according to a survey released Monday.

In the quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economics, all respondents expect gains in gross domestic product (GDP) this year, and 61% expect growth to exceed 2%. In the last survey in October, fewer than half of respondents expected 2%-plus growth.

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“NABE’s January 2010 Industry Survey provides new evidence that the U.S. recovery from the Great Recession continues, albeit at a slow pace,” said William Strauss, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, who helped conduct the analysis for the report.

Nearly a third of respondents expect hiring to increase in the first half of the year, up from 17% this time a year ago.

The outlooks were particularly strong for the financial and services sectors, with about 40% of economists expecting those industries to add jobs. Less than 15% of economists from the goods-producing and transportation sectors expect those industries to hire workers.

Signs point to a mildly easing credit crunch, with 35% of respondents reporting that credit conditions are “adversely impacting” their businesses — a high number, but down substantially from the last two reports.

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The survey results suggest the $787 billion stimulus bill passed last February is having a limited effect, with 69% of respondents reporting little impact on employment at their companies. There are 75 panelists who respond to the NABE survey — sixty-four responded to the question regarding stimulus.  To top of page

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