For the last three years, economic forecasters have predicted a quick turnaround. Politicians, Wall Street pundits, and researchers keep pointing forward to a time when things will get better. So far, they haven't. According to CNN, former Federal Reserve economist Lacy Hunt calls this the "mañana forecast" - an economy that always will get better tomorrow.
In his most recent congressional testimony, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan declared: "Looking ahead, the consensus expectation for a pickup in economic activity is not unreasonable, though the timing and extent of that improvement continue to be uncertain." Even for the understated Mr. Greenspan, a "not unreasonable" chance for a recovery sounds like not much chance at all.
To clarify the outlook, Hispanic Business has collected forecasts from four respected sources: The Conference Board, a New York-based research organization; the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF); and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). By scanning the forecasts (see table below) and understanding the real-world impact of the scenarios they imply, CEOs and professionals can gain a handle on strategic decision-making for the rest of 2003.
|Summary of Economic Forecasts|
|Real consumer spending||2.9||3.7||NA||NA||NA||NA||NA||NA||2.9||3.7|
|Unemployment rate (%)||5.9||5.5||6.0||5.8||5.9||5.7||5.9||5.7||5.9-6.0||5.5-5.8|
|90-day T-bills (%)||1.3||2.1||1.4||3.0||1.2||2.1||1.4||3.5||1.2-1.4||2.1-3.5|
|10-yr. Treas. bonds (%)||4.6||5.0||NA||NA||4.1||4.7||4.4||5.2||4.1-4.6||4.7-5.2|