Key economists and top U.S. business leaders say U.S. economic growth will continue this year, but at a slower pace than they first estimated.
That is the conclusion of a survey of members of the National Association for Business Economics. NABE members hold key positions at business of all kinds across the nation, and now predict the world's largest economy will grow at a 2.4 percent annual rate in 2015.
They have reduced their forecast of the rate that the economy will add jobs this year. However, they also predict that wages will grow a bit faster than the very modest rate of inflation, as economic recovery boosts hiring and competition for skilled workers.
NABE member and survey analyst Ken Simonson said growth slowed because a strong U.S. dollar made American-produced goods more expensive for foreign buyers, cutting exports.
He said falling oil prices also cut investment in oil and gas drilling which reduced demand for the many products and services needed in that complex process. Simonson said NABE members expect growth to increase to 2.9 percent in 2016.
Survey respondents also see some positive trends for growth, including government and consumer spending and investment in housing all rising at a faster rate.
A majority of these economists also think the U.S. central bank will raise the key interest rate some time in July, August, or September. They say the increase will likely be gradual, with the rate rising to just half a percentage point by the end of 2015.
A separate survey of CEOs of top corporations found similar views, including slower overall growth in the U.S. economy. Companies represented by the Business Roundtable employ 16 million people and represent about a quarter of the value of the U.S. stock markets.
The Chairman of the BRT and head of AT&T Randall Stephenson says CEOs are reducing their plans for investment. That is a concern because business investment is a key driver of economic expansion and job growth.
To improve the business climate, he urged Congress and the Obama Administration to do more to reform U.S. tax laws and pass a controversial measure [TPA] intended to bolster trade.