NABE Outlook Survey

February 2024

NABE Panel Forecasts Stronger Economic Growth of 2.2% in 2024, Unemployment Rate to Peak at 4%; Nearly 80% Expect Fed to Cut Rates by June

The February 2024 NABE Outlook presents the consensus macroeconomic forecast of a panel of 41 professional forecasters (see last page for listing). The survey, covering the outlook for 2024 and 2025, was conducted February 5-13, 2024. 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; Jack Kleinhenz, CBE, National Retail Federation; Kathy Bostjancic, Nationwide; Beth Ann Bovino, U.S. Bank; Martin Holdrich, Woods & Poole Economics, Inc.; and Ryan Sweet, Oxford Economics, 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 panelists sharply revised upwards their projections for U.S. economic growth in 2024,” said NABE President Ellen Zentner, chief U.S. economist, Morgan Stanley. “The forecast now calls for inflation-adjusted gross domestic product to increase by 2.2%, up from 1.3% forecasted in the December Outlook Survey. The stronger February growth forecasts for 2024 result from upward revisions to key sectors of the economy, including personal consumption expenditures, nonresidential fixed investment, residential investment, and government consumption expenditures and gross investment.”

“Most panelists expect the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee to commence rate cuts in the second quarter of 2024,” added NABE Outlook Survey Chair Mervin Jebaraj, director, Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas. “NABE panelists also forecast stronger economic growth, lower inflation, and lower unemployment rates than the Fed’s December economic projections, and more than three-quarters of the panelists forecast that the U.S. economy is heading for a soft landing in 2024. Nearly three-quarters of the panelists do not expect the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to fall below 6% by the end of 2024.”