CBO Outlook: Low Growth, High Unemployment

Labor market may take until late 2017 to see notable improvements.

John Divine
John Divine
Feb 5, 2013 at 3:03PM

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a nonpartisan agency that analyzes federal budget proposals each year, today issued its fiscal outlook for fiscal years 2013-2023.

In the short term, while the deficit is projected to shrink to 5.3% of GDP -- the lowest it's been since 2008 -- unemployment is estimated to remain above 7.5% through 2014, according to the CBO. That would make for the longest period of time with such high unemployment in 70 years, according to the CBO.

The CBO sees real GDP growth of just 1.4% this year, as federal expenditures are curbed and certain tax breaks like the Social Security payroll tax cut expire. For comparison, China's GDP grew at 9.3% in 2011, the most recent year for which the World Bank has data. That said, in the coming years the U.S. economic outlook is set to improve, beginning in 2014, when GDP growth in the U.S. is projected to more than double to 3.4%. The CBO sees the labor market taking a bit longer than that to recover, however, taking until the end of 2017 for the unemployment rate to fall to 5.5%. The unemployment rate currently sits at 7.9%.