The September 2020 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey

The September 2020 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey was published on September 10, 2020. The headline is “WSJ Survey: Overall Economy Is Recovering Faster Than Economists Expected.”

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.

An excerpt:

The projected rebound for the third quarter would recoup about half of the output lost in the first half of the year. To return to the previous peak recorded in the final quarter of last year, the economy would need to grow at a roughly 24% rate again in the fourth quarter of this year. Economists see that as unlikely: Their forecast for fourth-quarter growth is for a 4.9% annual rate, suggesting the recovery will be protracted.

The average forecast called for GDP to shrink 4.2% this year, measured from the fourth quarter of 2019, an improvement from the 5.3% contraction predicted in last month’s survey.

Nonetheless, the U.S. economy would still be on track to contract in 2020 by the most since contemporary records began in 1948, as measured from the fourth quarter of the prior year. By comparison, in the fourth quarter of 2008—during the financial crisis—GDP contracted just 2.8% from the prior year.

As seen in the “Recession Probability” section, the average response as to whether the economy will be in a recession within the next 12 months was 36.93%. The individual estimates, of those who responded, ranged from 0% to 100%.  For reference, the average response in August’s survey was 37.04%.

As stated in the article, the survey’s 62 respondents were academic, financial and business economists.  The survey was conducted September 4 – September 8. Not every economist answered every question.

Economic Forecasts

The current average forecasts among economists polled include the following:


full-year 2020:  -4.19%

full-year 2021:  4.00%

full-year 2022:  3.13%

full-year 2023:  2.53%

Unemployment Rate:

December 2020: 8.05%

December 2021: 6.34%

December 2022: 5.20%

December 2023: 4.69%

10-Year Treasury Yield:

December 2020: .77%

December 2021: 1.13%

December 2022: 1.54%

December 2023: 1.89%


December 2020:  .93%

December 2021:  1.98%

December 2022:  2.06%

December 2023:  2.17%

Crude Oil  ($ per bbl):

for 12/31/2020: $41.54

for 12/31/2021: $46.92

for 12/31/2022: $51.37

(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 3387.50 as this post is written