Can the Consumer Keep the Expansion Alive?
While 1995 witnessed the soft landing that had been widely forecast, the economic outlook for 1996 is for continued modest growth following this slowdown. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held its Ninth Annual Economic Outlook Symposium on December 8, 1995. More than 50 economists and analysts from business, academia and government attended the symposium. The sessions focused on the question, can the consumer keep the expansion alive? Prior to the symposium, participants were invited to submit both annual and quarterly 1996 forecasts for many gross domestic product (GDP) components, as well as several other economic series. Thirty-five individuals provided forecasts, and a consensus forecast was presented at the symposium. This Fed Letter will review the accuracy of the forecast for 1995 presented at last year’s symposium and summarize the 1996 Economic Outlook Symposium.