The January 2018 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey

The January 2018 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey was published on January 11, 2018.  The headline is “Economists Credit Trump as Tailwind for U.S. Growth, Hiring and Stocks.”

I found numerous items to be notable – although I don’t necessarily agree with them – both within the article and in the “Economist Q&A” section.

Two excerpts:

Asked to rate Mr. Trump’s policies and actions to date, a majority of economists said he had been somewhat or strongly positive for job creation, gross domestic product growth and the stock market. Most also said he had been either neutral or positive for the country’s long-term growth trajectory, while his influence on financial stability was seen as largely neutral.


Looking forward, the economists surveyed in recent days had high hopes for 2018.

On average, the forecasters predicted GDP would expand a healthy 2.7% this year. They saw the unemployment rate, which was 4.1% in December, falling to 3.9% by midyear and 3.8% in December. The pace of hiring was expected to slow further, with monthly nonfarm payroll gains set to average 165,000 in 2018. Monthly job gains averaged 171,000 in 2017 and 187,000 in 2016, according to the Labor Department.

The probability of a recession in the next 12 months ticked down in January to 13%, the lowest average since September 2015. More than two-thirds of forecasters said they saw the risks to the growth outlook as tilted to the upside.

As seen in the “Recession Probability” section, the average response as to the odds of another recession starting within the next 12 months was 13.11%. The individual estimates, of those who responded, ranged from 0% to 30%.  For reference, the average response in December’s survey was 14.12%.

As stated in the article, the survey’s respondents were 68 academic, financial and business economists.  Not every economist answered every question.  The survey was conducted January 5 – January 9, 2018.

The current average forecasts among economists polled include the following:


full-year 2017:  2.5%

full-year 2018:  2.7%

full-year 2019:  2.2%

full-year 2020:  2.0%

Unemployment Rate:

December 2018: 3.8%

December 2019: 3.8%

December 2020: 4.1%

10-Year Treasury Yield:

December 2018: 2.98%

December 2019: 3.31%

December 2020: 3.41%


December 2017:  2.1%

December 2018:  2.1%

December 2019:  2.3%

December 2020:  2.3%

Crude Oil  ($ per bbl):

for 12/31/2018: $58.31

for 12/31/2019: $57.46

for 12/31/2020: $58.91

(note: I highlight this WSJ Economic Forecast survey each month; commentary on past surveys can be found under the “Economic Forecasts” category)


I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with many of the consensus estimates and much of the commentary in these forecast surveys.


The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2767.56 as this post is written