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The Frustration of Optimists

August 14, 2012 1 minute Read by John Prestbo

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


Author

John Prestbo
John Prestbo

2012 Economic Growth Fellow

John Prestbo is retired as editor and executive director of Dow Jones Indexes. Previously he was markets editor at The Wall Street Journal. He has co-authored or edited several books over the past 30 years. The most recent is “The Market’s Measure: An Illustrated History of America Told Through the Dow Jones Industrial Average,” published in 1999 by Dow Jones Indexes. His column, Indexed Investor, appears on the highly regarded “MarketWatch” business and finance website. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwestern University.

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