The December 2018 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey

The December 2018 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey was published on December 13, 2018.  The headline is “Economists See U.S.-China Trade War as Biggest Threat in 2019.”

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:

Nearly half of economists who responded to a survey by The Wall Street Journal, 47.3%, said they viewed the U.S. dispute with Beijing as the No. 1 risk for 2019. Some 20% cited financial market disruptions and 12.7% pointed to a slowdown in business investment.


Just 7.3% of economists, or four respondents in total, agreed that Fed rate increases were the biggest threat to the economy in 2019.

A couple of private-sector economists cited other risks, such as excessive federal spending. Just over 9% pointed to slowing global growth as the biggest threat.

As seen in the “Recession Probability” section, the average response as to the odds of another recession starting within the next 12 months was 22.02%. The individual estimates, of those who responded, ranged from 0% to 50%.  For reference, the average response in November’s survey was 19.55%.

As stated in the article, the survey’s respondents were 60 academic, financial and business economists.  Not every economist answered every question.  The survey was conducted December 7 – December 11, 2018.

The current average forecasts among economists polled include the following:


full-year 2018:  3.1%

full-year 2019:  2.3%

full-year 2020:  1.7%

full-year 2021:  1.8%

Unemployment Rate:

December 2018: 3.7%

December 2019: 3.6%

December 2020: 3.8%

December 2021: 4.1%

10-Year Treasury Yield:

December 2018: 3.00%

December 2019: 3.35%

December 2020: 3.38%

December 2021: 3.36%


December 2018:  2.20%

December 2019:  2.30%

December 2020:  2.10%

December 2021:  2.20%

Crude Oil  ($ per bbl):

for 12/31/2018: $54.95

for 12/31/2019: $59.21

for 12/31/2020: $59.43

for 12/31/2021: $60.42

(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 2644.29 as this post is written