The U.S. economy should expand at a solid pace this year and next as consumers increase spending, confident the recession is behind them, a panel of economists said in a survey released Monday.Judging by the slope of the Treasury yield curve, I too expect decent economic growth over the coming year. That said, the economy fell so far during this recession that it will take a long time to get back to potential GDP.
The 46 economists surveyed in the National Association for Business Economics report between April 27 and May 7 predicted U.S. gross domestic product would expand by 3.2% in 2010 and 2011.
That is a touch higher than the 3.1% growth predicted for both years in the last survey, released Feb. 10.
"Although risks involving Europe have recently escalated, the outlook in this country has improved in most respects," said NABE President Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University.
"Growth prospects are stronger, unemployment and inflation are lower, and worries relating to consumer retrenchment and domestic financial headwinds have diminished," she said.
To put things in perspective, here's a graph of real GDP vs. potential real GDP:
Luckily, real GDP is currently growing faster than potential real GDP, which is needed if we want the economy to get back to normal.