The Philadelphia Federal Reserve released a survey Friday that suggests the employment rate will drop further as 2012 progresses. Currently the unemployment rate is 8.3 percent. By the fourth quarter of 2012, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's survey anticipates that rate to fall to 8.1 percent. In the reserve's previous report published in November, the unemployment rate averaged 8.7 percent.
Unemployment was 5 percent when the country entered the 2007-2009 recession. Despite the more-optimistic outlook, the job market will still struggle throughout the year, Reuters reported.
According to the survey, the unemployment rate is expected to keep dropping well into 2015, falling to 6.7 percent, 0.5 percentage points lower than previously expected.
Overall, the country's economic growth rate is not expected to significantly improve, according to the survey. The 45 polled economists expect U.S. GDP to growth of 2.2 percent this year, compared to a previous estimate of 2.4 percent GDP growth. By 2015, the economists forecast U.S. GDP growth will increase to 3.1 percent.