Forecasters are raising their projections for economic growth this year, based in large part on hopes for the passage of a substantial stimulus package and the rollout of vaccines around the country.
Economists in a Wall Street Journal survey bumped up their estimate for annual growth to 4.9% for 2021, up from the 4.3% projection registered a month ago.
The labor market, however, is looking a bit less robust. While the economists in the survey project the creation of 4.8 million jobs this year, that estimate is down from the previous estimate of 5.0 million, and equal to only half of the jobs that have been lost due to the pandemic.
The unemployment rate is projected to be 5.3% by the end of the year, falling from the current 6.3%.
How much fiscal aid is needed? Asked about how much the U.S. economy needs in fiscal stimulus, a majority of the 62 economists surveyed said the figure was less than $1 trillion. One respondent said the economy needed more than $2 trillion, while the rest put the number between $1 trillion and $2 trillion.