Foodservice Equipment Reports

First Blue Chip General Economic Forecasts For 2017 Signal Continued Moderate Growth

The first detailed forecasts for the direction of the U.S. economy from the newsletter Blue Chip Economic Indicators predict a continuation though slowing of the recent pattern of lower unemployment and moderate growth through 2017. The newsletter, which averages forecasts from 50 diverse economic forecasting groups, was published in early January, before the sudden drop of stock market indexes worldwide manifested.

The Blue Chip consensus forecast for the growth of real gross domestic product in the U.S. is 2.5% in 2017. It is precisely the same as the current estimate of GDP growth in 2015 and the January forecast for 2016.

More pertinent to foodservice, the forecast for growth of real disposable income and personal consumption spending signals a gradual slowing during the next two years. The current estimates for 2015 are for 3.5% growth of DPI and a 3.1% gain in PCE. These are forecast to sag to 2.9% for DPI and 2.8% for PCE in 2016 and 2.6% for DPI and 2.5% for PCE in 2017.  The reasons for the slowdown in growth of these key indicators include the expectation of continued slow wage growth and an eventual rebound of energy prices.

On a positive note, since employment trends are the most important driver of foodservice spending, the economists believe unemployment will decline to 4.6% by 2017 from its current 5%.