After a year of increasing pessimism about the U.S. economy, the country's top economics bloggers see a bit of hope on the horizon in 2011, according to a new Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation survey released today. Although 77 percent continue to describe the economy's overall condition as "mixed," "facing recession" or "in recession," 23 percent now believe the economy is "strong and growing" or "strong with uncertain growth" – an increase from last quarter.
With job growth an ongoing concern, bloggers this quarter were asked why high unemployment persists. An overwhelming 95 percent agreed that uncertainty is making firms reluctant to hire. They also cited structural changes in the demand for labor and a decline in aggregate demand. Asked whether they thought the recent extension of the 2001-3 tax cuts and the Social Security tax cuts would jump-start an economic recovery and job creation, a majority (66 percent) believe that those measures would be "effective" eventually, but not during 2011.
Survey respondents also took on the issue of the 2010 health reform bill. While opinions differed about whether it should remain or be repealed, seven out of 10 economics bloggers agreed that health benefits should be treated as taxable income.
Other research highlights include:
- 92 percent recommend that the government "reduce regulatory burdens and fees on new firm formation" rather than implementing policies that would subsidize new firm formation. This level of consensus is noteworthy given the largely nonpartisan identification of the respondents.
- Only 10 percent of bloggers believe the economy is doing better than official statistics indicate.
- Projecting three years ahead, economics bloggers expect global output, inflation, and interest rates to rise faster than anything else. The happy news is that two-thirds of respondents anticipate employment growth in the United States.
- 92 percent favored trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. A majority – 72 percent – also supported the adoption of recommendations from the president's deficit commission.
For this Kauffman Economic Outlook: A Quarterly Survey of Leading Economics Bloggers, the Kauffman Foundation sent invitations to more than 200 leading economics bloggers as identified in the Palgrave's econolog.net December 2010 rankings. The Foundation surveys the bloggers each quarter about their views of the economy, entrepreneurship and innovation.