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U.S. Congressional Budget Office Releases Sobering Economic Outlook

Jessika Walsten |
January 26, 2011 | 10:16 a.m. PST

Deputy Editor

(Photo by Clementine Gallot via Flickr)
(Photo by Clementine Gallot via Flickr)
The Congressional Budget Office released its outlook for the nation's budget and economy through 2021 Wednesday, and the CBO's findings are a mixed bag.

In the CBO's summary of the outlook, the current recession is likened to the Great Depression, a very positive way to open the report

The United States faces daunting economic and budgetary challenges. The economy has struggled to recover from the recent recession, which was triggered by a large decline in house prices and a financial crisis—events unlike anything this country has seen since the Great Depression. 

In the next four years, the CBO predicts nearly 2.5 million jobs will be added, but significant decreases in the unemployment rate won't happen right away, taking until 2016 to drop to a near natural rate of unemployment.

It's not so decent news for the national public debt though as that is projected to increase to $18 trillion, more than 70 percent of the gross domestic product by 2021. 

The outlook also included numbers on the budget deficit and the GDP.

Here are some of the CBO's key predictions:

  • Yearly spending on interest for the national debt will more than double over the next 10 years, reaching a 3.3 percent share of the GDP by 2021. 
  • Budget deficits will drop from $1.1 trilion in 2012 to $533 billion in 2014.
  • The 2011 federal budget deficit is predicted to equal 9.8 percent of the GDP at $1.5 trillion. Federal revenues for the year are only projected at $123 billion.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate will reach 5.3 percent just 0.1 percent higher than the estimated natural unemployment rate.
  • Improvement in the employment rate has been stymied by moderate growth in output and changes in the labor market.

Read more about the CBO's outlook here.



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