WASHINGTON, May 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. labor market will
strengthen significantly next year, with monthly job growth
expected to average 200,000, according to a new survey published
The National Association for Business Economics forecast the
unemployment rate at 7.5 percent by the end of 2013.
The survey of 54 economists painted a fairly upbeat picture
of the labor market, which has slowed in recent months after job
creation surged early in the year.
"Economists continue to see things pick up, even if it's
just slightly from pretty low levels," said Shawn DuBravac, NABE
outlook survey and chief economist at the Consumers Electronics
The survey, conducted between April 19 and May 2, forecast
nonfarm payroll increases averaging 188,000 per month this year
and the unemployment rate at 8.0 percent by the fourth quarter.
Job growth averaged 254,000 per month between December and
February, but cooled to an average of 134,500 in the past two
Most economists view the moderation as payback from an
unusually warm winter that pulled forward hiring in the
weather-sensitive sectors of the economy. The jobless rate has
dropped by 1 percentage point to 8.1 percent since August.
Back in February, economists surveyed by the NABE had
forecast employment gains averaging 170,000 per month this year
and 183,000 in 2013.
The jobless rate had been seen at 8.1 percent by year end
and 7.6 percent by the fourth quarter of 2013.
There was no change in growth forecasts, with gross domestic
product averaging 2.3 percent this year and accelerating to 2.7
percent in 2013. However, house prices are expected to rise 0.5
percent by the end of this year. They were previously seen flat.
(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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