SIFMA unveiled the results of its twice annual survey of chief U.S. economists. They predict that the U.S. economy will strengthen to 2.9% for the remainder of 2018, up from 2.5% in the previous forecast. The median mid-year forecast calls for 2018 GDP to grow by 2.9% on both a year-over-year basis and on a fourth-quarter-to-fourth-quarter basis, stronger than the 2.5% year-over-year and the 2.3% fourth-quarter-to-fourth-quarter predicted in the 2017 year-end survey. For 2019, the mid-year forecast calls for GDP to grow by 2.6% year-over-year.
Employment is expected to continue improving, and on a slightly stronger basis than expected at end-2017. Survey respondents predict the unemployment rate to average 3.9% in 2018 (compared to 4.0% in the end-year 2017 survey), falling to 3.6% in 2019. Expectations for job growth were also stronger, with employers expected to add 2.2 million workers to payrolls in 2018 (from 2.1 million expected in the end-year 2017 survey) and 1.8 million in 2019.