UT economists predict modest economic growth in 2014

University of Tennessee economists predict modest improvement in the Tennessee and national economies in 2014, according to fall 2013 Tennessee Business and Economic Outlook released Thursday.
“While growth is subdued due to reduced federal government spending and a global slowdown, the expansion has shown a much-welcomed resilience,” said Matt Murray, associate director of UT’s Center for Business and Economic Research and the report’s author.
“The outlook for 2014 is encouraging, but the economy continues to confront a number of domestic and international challenges,” Murray added.
Residential and non residential fixed investments and exports will drive growth next year, while reduced federal and state government spending “will be the primary drags on growth,” Murray said.
Unemployment will continue to fall in 2014, but a decline in labor force participation continues to be a problem, the report says.
The state’s unemployment rate, however, will average 8.2 percent for 2013, compared to 7.6 percent for the nation. Tennessee’s unemployment rate was 8 percent last year and is expected to drop to 7.6 percent in 2014 and 7 percent in 2015, according to a news release.
Other highlights from the report:
Personal income in Tennessee is expected to grow 2.6 percent this year, slightly lower than the nation’s 2.7 percent rate of growth, and improve to 4.4 percent in 2014.
Professional and business services, leisure and hospitality services, and manufacturing sectors will see marginally slower growth next year compared to this year.
Eating and drinking establishments and food stores will experience strong growth this year.
Taxable sales growth for 2013 is expected to be 3.2 percent, well behind the 4.7 percent growth rate of 2012. It will see modest improvement in 2014 to a projected 3.5 percent.
Automobile dealer sales were especially hot in 2012, up 10.1 percent, as consumers continued to satisfy their demands for vehicle upgrades. A cooling of sales will take place this year, with a rebound to 4.4 percent growth in 2014.
Click here for the full CBER report.