The U.S. economy is likely to grow a bit more quickly next year, but don't look for big changes in the pace of new hiring.
That sluggish pace of job growth will keep paychecks nearly flat and continue to weigh on household budgets and consumer spending, according to economists who track the health of a broad range of businesses and industries.
The improvement in the coming year will be gradual, according to a survey of the forecasters' outlooks, with the pace of growth picking up to 3 percent by spring—from the 2.5 percent pace reported by the government for the second quarter.
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That will keep the pace of hiring next year at about 200,000 new jobs a month, only slightly higher than the average rate of about 190,000 this year, according to a survey of the National Association of Business Economists at the start of their annual meeting in San Francisco.
At that pace, the jobless rate would fall to 6.8 percent by the end of next year, extending one of the weakest job recoveries from any recession in a half century. If the sluggish job recovery continues at the same pace, it will take another 4½ years for the unemployment rate to reach its prerecession low of 4.4 percent.
Until then, workers looking for a raise will have a hard time finding one. The forecasters expect hourly compensation to inch up by 1.9 percent for all of 2013 and rise a bit to a 2.4 percent gain in 2014. But after adjusting for the forecasters' inflation predictions, that will leave workers with pay gains of just three-tenths of 1 percent in both years.
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