Budget lowers economic expectations

The White House stepped back its economic expectations for the remainder of the president’s term in its latest budget request.

The fiscal 2015 proposal includes economic assumptions that show the nation’s gross domestic product gradually gaining momentum, at a slower rate than previously assumed. By the time the president leaves office at the end of 2016, it expects the economy to be growing by 3.3 percent.

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The president’s 2014 budget offered a rosier perspective, anticipating economic growth of 3.6 percent by 2016.

The Commerce Department estimates that the nation’s economy grew just 1.9 percent in 2013, after growing 2.8 percent in 2012.

The president’s budget estimates just 1.7 percent growth in 2013, but expects a huge leap forward in 2014, as it climbs to 3.1 percent, then 3.4 percent in 2015.

However, the White House is a bit more optimistic on the jobs front. The 2015 budget assumes the unemployment rate will have fallen to 6 percent by 2016 from its current level of 6.6 percent.

The administration assumes the nation will face an average unemployment rate of 6.9 percent in 2014, actually higher than the current level. Many analysts expect the jobless rate could climb as the economy improves, as more unemployed workers who have given up looking for work again enter the prospective workforce.

In its fiscal 2014 budget, the White House assumed the nation’s jobless rate would average 7.2 percent in 2014, and only dip to 6.2 percent by the president’s last year in office.