WASHINGTON (July 4, 2012)--A majority of economists polled in a new survey expect the nation's unemployment rate to stay above 6 percent for at least four more years, the upper limit of what's considered healthy.
If the economists surveyed by The Associated Press are correct, the job market will still be unhealthy seven years after the recession officially ended in June of 2009, marking the longest stretch of high unemployment since the end of World War II.
It means the job market and the economy would remain big challenges in either a second Obama term or in Mitt Romney's first term.
The survey collected the views of 32 private, corporate and academic economists on a range of issues.
In their view, monthly job gains will average 139,000 the rest of the year, barely enough to keep up with population growth and keep unemployment from worsening.
They also believe the economy will continue to grow only slowly.
The average forecast for the just-completed quarter is that GDP grew at an annual rate of 2 percent.
The economists think the rate in the final six months of the year will be just 2.3 percent, which is too weak to bring the unemployment rate down.