Barring any major shocks, the U.S. economy should experience gross domestic product growth of 2.5% in 2012, which is “good, but not great,” NCUA Chief Economist John Worth said Tuesday afternoon.
He and CUNA economists Bill Hampel and Mike Schenk participated in a panel discussion examining the 2012 economic outlook.
Boding well for the economy is an improving jobs picture. The nation’s unemployment rate fell from 8.9% in October to 8.3% today, and should reach 8.1% by year’s end.
Plus, household finances are improving, Hampel said, with higher savings levels, a lower debt burden, an improving stock market, and a “long, slow improvement” in home prices.
Three potential “shocks,” however, could negate these positive economic trends:
Potential disasters aside, credit union balance sheets have experienced “an amazing turnaround,” albeit a slow one, Schenk says.
This year he says credit unions can expect:
Large credit unions are in better financial shape than their smaller brethren, Schenk added, with higher loan growth and better asset quality.
“The bottom line: We’re in a much better place today than one year ago,” Schenk said, “but significant challenges remain.”