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US Economic Growth to Remain Modest    03/27 06:08

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. economic growth is expected to accelerate this year 
and next, yet remain modest, even if President Trump's promised tax cuts and 
infrastructure spending are implemented, a survey found.

   The economy will grow a solid 2.3 percent this year and 2.5 percent in 2018, 
according to 50 economists surveyed by the National Association for Business 
Economics. Those rates would be up from 2016's anemic pace of 1.6 percent.

   Still, those rates are below the 3 percent to 4 percent growth that Trump 
has promised to bring about through steep corporate and individual tax cuts and 
more spending on roads, airports and tunnels. Most of the economists surveyed 
assume that a tax reform package will be approved by Congress this year. About 
two-fifths expect an infrastructure spending proposal to pass this year, while 
rest forecast it will happen in 2018 or beyond.

   The survey also found that 70 percent of economists think financial markets 
are too optimistic about the impact of Trump's proposals, should they be 
enacted. The S&P 500 stock index has risen about 6.5 percent since the 
presidential election on anticipation of faster growth stemming from Trump's 
policies. Shares slipped last week as Congress and the Trump administration 
failed to agree on a health care proposal to replace the Obama administration's 
Affordable Care Act.

   The economists surveyed work for companies, trade associations and in 
academia. The results were compiled by Timothy Gill, an economist at the 
American Iron and Steel Institute; Steve Cochrane, an economist at Moody's 
Analytics; and David Teolis at General Motors, among others.

   The survey found economists more optimistic about hiring than they were in a 
previous survey, conducted in December. They now forecast employers will add an 
average of 183,000 jobs a month this year, up from their earlier forecast of 
168,000. The new figure is roughly in line with last year's average of 187,000.

   Most of the economists assume that Trump's tax proposals will pass in the 
second half of this year, though about one-fifth expect that it will take until 
next year.

   Most do not expect an infrastructure package, even if it passes this year, 
to boost the economy until 2018, the survey found.

   Trump's tax proposals will face many challenges before they become law. Most 
economists surveyed by NABE do not expect they will include a proposal from 
House Republicans to tax imports and exempt exports. That proposal is forecast 
to raise $1 trillion in revenue over a decade. Without it, the tax plan will 
need to raise other revenue or will make the government's budget deficit larger.


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