Leading Economists Anticipate Sluggish Economic Growth, Weak Wage Gains

Job fair
Job fair / AP

Leading economists are anticipating sluggish economic growth, weak wage gains and slowing hiring rates for the next two years.

An Associated Press survey of about three dozen leading economists determined that a strong majority of the experts believe the American economy will continue to grow at a slow pace.

Approximately 70 percent of those surveyed responded that they believe the economy’s growth will stay below an average of 3 percent annually through 2017, a growth rate that has not been achieved since 2005.

Moreover, 58 percent of those surveyed believe wage increases over the next two years will remain below an annual average of 3.5 percent.

Moreover, if economic growth indeed does not pick up from post-Great Recession 2.2 percent a year, about 60 percent of the experts surveyed believe that hiring will plummet to an average of 175,000 jobs per month from the 243,000 per month average of the past year, yielding a 28 percent decrease in monthly job growth.

Though some economists at the beginning of 2015 expressed optimism that economic growth would inch up to 3 percent, citing lower gas prices and hiring data, the survey demonstrates experts have tempered their expectations.

Among their reasoning for the dim predictions, the economists polled between Aug. 13 and 20 named the lagging proportion of Americans holding jobs as a primary culprit, a figure yielded in part by individuals from the Baby Boomer generation retiring, Millennials remaining in school longer and a unemployed individuals exiting the labor force.

Indeed, the labor force participation rate is at its lowest level since October 1977.

"We no longer have reason for optimism that the economy is going to accelerate. The real question is, when is the next downturn coming?" said chief economist at Action Economics Mike Englund.