Economic forecasts from various factions for 2014 sound a lot like those that were prognosticated for 2013: Expect more sluggish growth.
Indiana University Kelley School of Business economists went so far as to predict 2014 will be "disappointing" with a "tepid" economic recovery.
"For at least the past year, the economy should have been able to achieve growth close to, perhaps above, its long-run potential of 2.5 to 3.0 percent. Yet growth remains stuck in a sub-2-percent rut," said Bill Witte, associate professor emeritus of economics at IU, in the school's annual forecast.
"We can find only one plausible explanation: Policy from Washington is standing in the way all across the board."
Through the first half of 2013, the economy grew at an annual rate of 1.7 percent, "far short of everyone's expectations," according to the IU report, which expects the first half of 2014 to experience "unacceptably slow growth" of about 2 percent. Inflation will remain contained and close to its present level of 2 percent.
The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Survey similarly expects slow growth in the range of 2.2 percent for the coming year, reflecting "slightly increased optimism despite an underperforming economy that continues to grow more slowly than we all would like."
"CEOs remain concerned about ongoing uncertainty stemming from the continuing fiscal stalemate that in turn prevents work on, among other priorities, reforms to the corporate tax code and our immigration laws, both of which if accomplished would improve the country's economic climate, attract investment and spur growth," according to the Business Roundtable report.
The Business Roundtable surveyed 120 CEOs in November, 73 percent of whom expected sales will increase in the next six months, while 18 percent anticipated sales to remain the same.
Evolution Finance Inc.'s WalletHub financial website was slightly more optimistic about 2014, predicting the GDP will rise to 3 percent while unemployment will slip below 7 percent.
"WalletHub interviewed a number of leading economists in preparing its 2014 predictions, and the general consensus is that the economy will continue its slow growth in 2014, turning the year into the transitionary period that "13 should have been and bringing the economy back on track heading into 2015," according to the site.
Meanwhile, the Institute of Supply Management's Business Survey Committee surveyed generally optimistic purchasing and supply executives for its 2014 economic forecast.
"Our forecast calls for a continuation of growth in 2014, building on the momentum from the second half of 2013. Respondents expect raw materials pricing pressures in 2014 to be low, similar to levels experienced in 2013, and expect their margins will improve," the ISM report stated.
Manufacturing experienced six consecutive months of growth from June through November 2013, while experiencing only one month of contraction during the entire first 11 months of 2013, according to ISM.
About 69 percent of respondents expect manufacturing revenues to be greater in 2014 than in 2013, with an overall 4.4 percent net increase in revenues for 2014, compared with a 4.6 percent jump reported for 2013 over 2012 revenues.
Among the 16 manufacturing industries expected to enjoy revenue improvement over 2013, the "plastics & rubber products" sector came in second behind textile mills.
"Manufacturing purchasing and supply executives expect to see continued growth in 2014. They are optimistic about their overall business prospects for the first half of 2014, and are even more optimistic about the second half of 2014," said Bradley Holcomb, chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
About 58 percent of non-manufacturing supply management executives surveyed expect a 3.6 percent net in-crease in overall revenues for 2014 compared with 4 percent growth reported for 2013 over 2012 revenues.
Among 14 non-manufacturing industries expecting revenue improvement in 2014 over 2013 were the retail trade and transportation & warehousing sectors.
"Non-manufacturing supply managers report operating at 86.3 percent of their normal capacity, higher than the 84.7 percent reported in April 2013. They are optimistic about continued growth in the first half of 2014 compared to the second half of 2013, and they have a higher level of optimism about the next 12 months than they had last December for 2013," said Anthony Nieves, chair of the ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.