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Survey: Economy To Grow But Not Add A Lot Of Jobs

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The U.S. economy will keep growing throughout the year and next, but at a sluggish rate, according to a new survey from the National Association of Business Economists.

NPR's Ailsa Chang reports the forecast doesn't have much bright news for the job market.

AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: Every three months, about 40 economists get together and submit their own predictions for this forecast. The Pollyannas and the extreme pessimists cancel each other out, and somewhere in the middle come some educated guesses.

Here are two of them: unemployment won't dip all that much, and GDP growth will quicken, but barely. Basically, we're going to see the same trends we're already seeing now.

Economist Sean Snaith helped compile the report.

SEAN SNAITH: It's sort of like being upgraded from critical to serious condition in intensive care. I mean, it is an improvement, but it's still a pace of growth that's not likely to generate a lot of jobs.

CHANG: Although September, saw a dip in the unemployment rate, Snaith says, don't get too excited. He calls that decrease a statistical aberration because there was no corresponding large gain in payroll jobs. The report predicts jobs will be added in the coming year, but the unemployment rate won't dramatically change.

SNAITH: Because as jobs are created and as people, you know, see the prospect of finding work rise, we're going to see more people come back into the labor force.

CHANG: And when that happens, he says it puts a floor underneath the unemployment rate, which prolongs the time it takes to bring that rate down.

Ailsa Chang, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.