Washington state predicts U.S. economic ‘slowdown,’ not recession

Washington state forecasts a slowdown in the U.S. economy, predicting lower GDP growth, higher unemployment rates, and decreasing oil prices in the coming years.
Photo courtesy Deemerwha studio

In the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council’s preliminary June forecast, it predicted a national GDP increase of 1.1% in 2023

Logan Washburn
The Center Square Washington

Washington state is predicting an economic “slowdown” in the U.S., according to a recent forecast.
“The forecast expects a slowdown in U.S. economic activity this year and in early 2024,” said Stephen Lerch, executive director of the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. “Compared to our March forecast, this slowdown has been shifted forward in time.”

In the council’s preliminary June forecast, it predicted a national GDP increase of 1.1% in 2023, 0.7% in 2024, 2% in both 2025 and 2026 then 1.9% in 2027. It based these numbers on May’s Blue Chip Forecast, according to Lerch.

“I don’t think this forecast qualifies as having a recession,” he said. “A commonly used definition is having two successive quarters of negative GDP growth.”

The council predicted Washington’s employment will increase 2.3% this year, and that its employment growth will average 0.7% from 2024 to 2027.

“We expect slower growth during the remainder of the forecast as the U.S. economy slows,” the forecast reads.

Washington’s unemployment rate has been rising since a low of 3.9% in June 2022. While the state’s unemployment declined from 4.6% in February to 4.3% in April, the forecast predicted a peak rate of 5% in 2024. The council expects it will fall to 4.5% by 2027.

At the same time, the state added 30,900 nonfarm payroll jobs from January to April, while the council only expected an increase of 3,200.

“Policymakers have been trying to bring together and balance out the supply and demand for workers,” Paul Turek, state economist for Washington’s Employment Security Department, previously said.
The council also predicts national oil prices will decrease. It predicted in March the price per barrel in the third quarter of 2023 would be $77, but now expects the price will be $74 per barrel. By 2027, the council expects the price will be $63 per barrel.

“Lower oil prices are a positive for Washington and other states that do not have oil wells,” Lerch said. “They enable consumers and businesses to spend less on energy-related expenses and more on other goods and services, or increase saving.”

The Center Square reached out to Turek for comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.

This report was first published by The Center Square Washington.

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