Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reader Poll Results: Economic Outlook for 2010

by Bill McBride on 12/31/2009 03:15:00 PM

Here are the results of the reader poll. Thanks to the 4,518 people who participated!

Poll Results GDP Growth in 2010 Click on graph for larger image in new window.

The first question was the outlook for GDP growth in 2010. Readers who participated in the poll tend to be pessimistic, with 57% expecting a double dip recession, and another 30% expecting real GDP growth to be below 2% in 2010.

Usually the economy grows very quickly after a severe recession. As an example, following the '48/'49 recession, the economy grew at a double digit growth rate for the first three quarters of the recovery. In the 2nd half of 1959, the economy grew at a 9.7% rate, and in the year following the '73/'75 recession, GDP increased 6.2%.

Since this was the most severe recession since the Great Depression, a normal recovery would probably be 8%+ real GDP growth for a year or so. That isn't going to happen. Even a 4% growth rate would have to be considered sluggish by historical standards.

I'll post more on the reasons for my outlook, but I think the U.S. will avoid a double dip recession, and 2010 GDP growth will be in the 2% to 3% range.

Unemployment Rate Poll Results The second question concerned the unemployment rate at the end of 2010 (December 2010).

Most poll participants (70%) are expecting the unemployment rate to be at or above 10% at the end of 2010. I think it might be close, but I agree with the majority on the unemployment rate (still double digits in Dec 2010). There will be a temporary positive impact from the 2010 Census, and I expect another stimulus package (labeled a "jobs package") to be announced in the next few months - and maybe that will push the rate down below double digits.

I'll have more in the next few days. Thanks again for participating! I hope most of us are too pessimistic.