Economists trim short-term U.S. growth forecasts-survey

NEW YORK Fri May 10, 2013 9:59am EDT

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NEW YORK May 10 (Reuters) - Economists trimmed their forecast for U.S. economic growth in the second and third quarters of this year, though the unemployment rate was seen improving more than previously thought, a survey released on Friday showed.

Analysts expect the economy to grow at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the current quarter, down from the previous estimate of 2.3 percent, according to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's quarterly survey of 42 forecasters.

Third quarter growth expectations were also cut to 2.3 percent from the 2.6 percent forecast in the previous survey released in February.

Still, the year overall looked a little brighter, helped by stronger growth expected in the final quarter. Gross domestic product is seen at an annualized average of 2 percent in 2013, up slightly from the previous estimate of 1.9 percent.

The labor market is expected to heal more quickly, with the unemployment rate seen averaging 7.6 percent this year, down from the earlier forecast of 7.7 percent

The most recent official unemployment rate released by the government fell to 7.5 percent in April.

Inflation was expected to remain muted, with the headline consumer price index seen averaging 1.7 percent for the year, cut from 2 percent. But core CPI, which strips out energy and food prices, was seen a little higher at 2 percent, up from earlier expectations of 1.9 percent.

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