Economists see U.S. adding 155K jobs a month in next 12 months, down from 180K

The job gains of recent years, when the economy routinely added more than two million jobs annually, may be a thing of the past.


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Forecasters have sharply lowered their expectations for job growth in the coming year after employers added just 38,000 jobs in May, according to The Wall Street Journal’s latest survey of academic, business and financial economists.

They now expect the economy will add about 155,000 jobs a month over the next year, a pace of about 1.9 million annually. That is the third consecutive month of lowered expectations for the jobs outlook. Their estimates fell from about 180,000 in May, 185,000 in April and 190,000 in March.

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If their forecast proves correct, it would be the worst year for job growth since 2010.

“The economy right now is navigating this period where there’s going to be lower growth overall and lower profit margins,” said Brian Bethune, an economist at Tufts University.

Economists were caught off guard by the weakness of the most recent jobs report. Before the report, they had estimated the economy would add 120,000 more jobs in May than it actually did.

But while the jobs market data can bounce around greatly from one month to the next—in the past year the economy has gained as many as 295,000 jobs in one month and as few as 38,000—it tends to converge over time to clearer trends that are easier to predict. Over the past year, for example, job growth has averaged 200,000 a month; economists had predicted growth of 219,000.

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