NABE Outlook Survey

December 2023

NABE Panelists Forecast Slower Growth in 2024; Three out of Four Panelists Put Recession Risk at 50% or Less in Next 12 Months

The December 2023 NABE Outlook presents the consensus macroeconomic forecast of a panel of 40 professional forecasters. The survey, covering the outlook for 2023 and 2024, was conducted November 10-19, 2023. The NABE Outlook Survey originated in 1965 and is one of three surveys conducted by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE); the others are the NABE Business Conditions Survey and the NABE Economic Policy Survey. Founded in 1959, the National Association for Business Economics is the professional association for those who use economics in their work. NABE has over 2,900 members and 44 chapters nationwide. Mervin Jebaraj (chair), University of Arkansas; Kathy Bostjancic, Nationwide; Beth Ann Bovino, U.S. Bank; Martin Holdrich, Woods & Poole Economics, Inc; and Jack Kleinhenz, CBE, National Retail Federation, conducted the analysis of survey responses for this report. The views expressed in this report are those of the panelists, and do not necessarily represent the views of their affiliated companies or institutions. This report may be reproduced in whole or in part with appropriate citation to NABE.

SUMMARY: “The NABE Outlook Survey Panel anticipates stronger U.S. economic growth projections for 2023 than in the October Outlook survey, but panelists expect growth to slow to 1% between the fourth quarter of 2023 and the fourth quarter of 2024,” said NABE President Ellen Zentner, chief U.S. economist, Morgan Stanley. “Fewer respondents than in the October 2023 Outlook survey expect a recession within the next 12 months, with more than three in four assigning a probability of 50% or less. While most respondents expect an uptick in the unemployment rate going forward, a majority anticipates that the rate will not exceed 5%. Too much monetary policy tightness and broadening conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East are cited as the largest downside risks for the U.S. economy.”

“Panelists anticipate further slowing in core inflation—excluding food and energy costs—but doubt it will reach the Federal Reserve Board’s 2% target before year-end 2024,” added NABE Outlook Survey Chair Mervin Jebaraj, director, Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas. “More than two-thirds expect the target will be reached in 2025 or later. Still, more than 80% of panelists believe interest-rate cuts will begin in 2024, with most expecting cuts to start in the second or third quarter of 2024. Expectations for the 10-year Treasury bond yield for year-end 2023 and 2024 are higher than in the October 2023 survey—at 4.6% and 4.1%, respectively.”