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The Frustration of Optimists

Article by John Prestbo August 14, 2012 //   1 minute read

Gene Epstein, Barron's

Pity the poor forecaster attempting to gauge that stubbornly sluggish animal, the U.S. economy. Even against relatively modest expectations, the economy has rarely failed to disappoint. The Blue Chip Economic Indicators, released Friday, reported that its consensus of 50 economists predicts a pickup in growth by 2013. For 2012, the consensus expects growth of real gross domestic product to run just 1.8% (fourth-quarter-over-fourth-quarter), and then accelerate to 2.5% through 2013. That 2.5% projection would be good news against the current era of diminished expectations. Note, however, that last year at this time, the Aug. 10, 2011, Blue Chip report predicted that 2012 would come in at 2.7%. The 1.8% is more plausible, given the poor performance of this year's first half. Read More