Business economists have grown dramatically more pessimistic about their outlook for the U.S. economy because of the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying lockdowns of businesses, schools and almost all other nonessential activities.
The latest Business Conditions Survey released by the National Association for Business Economics is the weakest since the financial crisis more than a decade ago.
Eighty-six percent of the roughly 107 economists surveyed from April 13 to April 16 expect U.S. GDP, adjusted for inflation, will decline 2% over the coming year. Even the 14% who expect some positive growth through the end of 2020 anticipate growth of 1% or less.
“The outlook for inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (real GDP) in 2020 reversed sharply,” said NABE President Constance Hunter in a statement, referring to the last comparable NABE survey based on responses in late December and early January, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S.
”Respondents report that last quarter was the worst since the global financial crisis for sales, profit margins, prices and capital spending,” added NABE Business Conditions Survey Chair Megan Greene, who is also a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.