January 17, 2014
In December 2013, more than 100 economists and analysts from business, academia, and government attended the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s 27th annual Economic Outlook Symposium. In the February 2014 issue of Chicago Fed Letter, William A. Strauss, senior economist and economic adviser, and Jacob Berman, associate economist, shared the predictions of symposium participants for 2014.
The growth rate of real GDP is expected to be 2.7 percent—the fastest rate in three years. The unemployment rate is expected to remain high, moving down to 6.8 percent in the final quarter of 2014. Inflation is predicted to rise from an estimated 1.5 percent in 2013 to a still low 1.7 percent in 2014.
Light-vehicle sales are expected to rise to 16 million units this year, which would make 2014 the best year for car and light-truck sales since 2008, when the Great Recession began. Real business fixed investment is anticipated to grow at a rate of 3.7 percent. Industrial production is forecast to have its growth rate improve to 2.7 percent this year.
Global steel consumption is projected to grow 3 percent to a record level of 1.52 billion metric tons. The heavy machinery industry should experience moderate sales growth, as it did in 2013.