Earlier today, the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) released its Industry Outlook Survey, which was conducted in mid-to-late March. The public version is available by clicking here. Overall, business economists are upbeat about the economy looking forward, albeit with concerns about higher oil prices, Middle Eastern political unrest, and supply chain disruptions resulting from the disaster in Japan.
Virtually all – 94 percent – of the respondents suggested that gross domestic product (GDP) will grow at least two percent this year, with 38 percent anticipating growth exceeding three percent. The number of forecasters predicting GDP growth to be higher than three percent nearly doubled from the January survey, when only 20 percent of respondents believed we would have more than three percent growth.
In a number of categories, NABE members suggested that economic conditions were improving for their business or industry. This includes sales, profits, employment, and capital spending. Cost pressures in the goods-producing industries (which include agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and mining) were most notable, with 82 percent of businesses in these sectors reporting higher material costs over the past three months. The analysis also suggests that 67 percent of goods-producing industries raised prices over the past three months.