The National Association for Business Economists released its December 2023 economic outlook from a panel of 40 professional forecasters. Their take: 2023 will have seen stronger growth than they expected in October but think that growth will slow to 1% only sometime between now and the fourth quarter of 2024.

A slowdown in growth, by the way, is not necessarily a recession. "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," said NABE President Ellen Zentner, chief U.S. economist, Morgan Stanley, said in prepared remarks. "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."

Looking at core inflation — looking at goods and services absent food and energy, because their volatility makes it difficult to find trends — the forecasters largely expected it to continue slowing but they doubted that it would hit the 2% level the Federal Reserve has been seeking before the end of 2024. The median forecast still sees headline CPI to reach 2.4% year over year by the fourth quarter in 2024.

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