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Economists raise 3rd-quarter US growth forecasts: Philly Fed survey

Economists raised their forecasts for U.S. economic growth in the third quarter but trimmed their estimates for the balance of 2014, though the outlook for both job growth and lower unemployment was strengthened.

Analysts see the economy growing at an annual rate of 3.0 percent in the current quarter, up from a previous estimate of 2.9 percent, according to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's quarterly survey of 43 forecasters, released on Friday.

Fourth-quarter growth was forecast at 3.1 percent, down from a previous estimate of 3.2 percent, and first-quarter 2015 growth was estimated at 3.1 percent, unchanged from an earlier estimate of 3.1 percent.

Meanwhile, they see the economy growing at a rate of 2.1 percent for all of 2014, down from the previous estimate of 2.4 percent in the previous survey in May.

Growth in 2015 is expected to come in at 3.1 percent, unchanged from the 3.1 percent estimate in the May survey.

The pace of hiring was expected to accelerate in the current quarter compared with previous expectations, with an average rate of monthly nonfarm job growth seen around 228,600 versus a previous forecast of 204,700.

That is expected to dip in the fourth quarter, averaging 211,200, although that is up from a prior forecast of 197,900.

Hiring should average 204,800 a month for all of 2014, compared with the prior full-year forecast of 196,500.

The jobless rate was expected to be 6.1 percent at the end of the current quarter and 6.0 percent by the end of the fourth quarter.

The most recent official unemployment rate released by the government showed the jobless rate in July stood at 6.2 percent, up a tenth of a point from June's reading, which was the lowest since September 2008.

Inflation was expected to remain muted, with year-on-year core consumer price inflation, which strips out food and energy costs, averaging 2.1 percent in the third quarter, compared with a previous estimates of 1.8 percent. Fourth-quarter core CPI was seen at 2.1 percent versus a previous forecast of 1.9 percent.

Looking at the inflation measure most closely tracked by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the core personal consumption expenditures, or PCE,

index, forecasters also see muted price pressures. The third-quarter rate was seen at 1.8 percent, up from 1.7 percent in the May survey.

By Reuters