CHICAGO Dec 3 U.S. economic growth will pick up
the pace next year, but inflation will tick up only slightly
despite unprecedented stimulus from the central bank, according
to a survey conducted by the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank
published on Monday.
Unemployment - which registered 7.9 percent in October - was
seen falling only slightly, to 7.6 percent by the end of next
year, respondents to Chicago Fed's survey said. The U.S. economy
will grow about 2.3 percent next year, up from an estimated 1.7
percent this year.
Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, will
register 2.1 percent, just a touch above this year's estimated 2
percent, they said.
The Fed in September launched a third round of quantitative
easing, buying $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities each
month and vowing to keep on buying or even ramp up purchases
unless the outlook for the labor market improves substantially.
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans has said he believes it
unlikely the labor market will improve enough in the first half
of next year for the Fed to stop or taper the purchases.
The survey was conducted on Friday at the regional Fed
bank's yearly economic outlook symposium. It included responses
from 39 particpants, including manufacturers, bankers,
automakers, scholars and consultants, the Chicago Fed said in a
Housing and the auto sector are seen as key drivers for next
year's growth, the survey showed.