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Livingston survey sees higher growth, lower jobless rate

Those are some of the positive economic trends seen in the Philly Fed's semi-annual survey of forecasters.

With these hot temperatures, let's yammer about something cool, like the economy.

So curl up on a soft patch, and I'll tell you what the nation's oldest continuous survey of economists' expectations is predicting for the rest of this year and next.

The latest version of the Livingston Survey, which was started by the late Inquirer columnist Joseph A. Livingston back in 1946, finds forecasters, while not exactly giddy, raising their estimates for economic growth and seeing the unemployment rate falling.

The 35 economists who participated in the semi-annual survey (now managed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia) raised their target for real gross domestic product growth to 3.2 percent for the second half of 2011, from 2.9 percent. For the first half of 2012, growth is expected to be 3.0 percent.

As for the unemployment rate, those surveyed now expect the rate to be 8.6 percent in December, down from the 9.2 percent they'd predicted six months ago. By June 2012, the unemployment rate is seen drifting down to 8.3 percent.

On a scorcher of day in Philadelphia, I view that as a thawing job market.

Read below, or follow this link to a PDF of the survey.