by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Gene Epstein probes the relevant economic data to expose the truth in his latest “Economic Beat” column for Barron’s.
The Blue Chip Economic Indicators, released Friday, reported that its consensus of 50 economists predicts a pickup in growth by 2013. For 2012, the consensus expects growth of real gross domestic product to run just 1.8% (fourth-quarter-over-fourth-quarter), and then accelerate to 2.5% through 2013.
That 2.5% projection would be good news against the current era of diminished expectations. Note, however, that last year at this time, the Aug. 10, 2011, Blue Chip report predicted that 2012 would come in at 2.7%. The 1.8% is more plausible, given the poor performance of this year’s first half.
Similarly, two years ago at this time, the Aug. 10, 2010, Blue Chip projected that 2011 would witness growth of 3.0%. The record books for 2011 now show 2.0%.
It’s surely dispiriting to keep saying “wait ’til next year,” a la Brooklyn Dodgers fans, only to find next year fails to deliver. Even 2013 is not expected to deliver much in the way of a falling unemployment rate.
The rate of joblessness, currently at 8.3%, has been fluctuating between 8.1% and 8.3% since the beginning of this year. The consensus expects it to be at 8.1% by the fourth quarter of this year, thus showing no progress at all through 2012, as the increase in the number of jobs about matches gains in the labor force.
No wonder President Obama doesn’t spend much time talking about his own record.