Arun Raha is Washington’s chief economist and executive director of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. It’s his job to predict how the state economy will fare in the months and years ahead and figure out how much tax money will be collected by the state, and, therefore, how much the governor and Legislature have to spend.
Raha’s prediction about the official end to the recession is contained in the preliminary Juneeconomic forecast, which came out today.
“We believe the recession will officially end sometime in the third quarter with a peak-to-trough decline in real Gross Domestic Product of 3.7 percent, only slightly weaker that the 3.5 percent drop expected in March,” Raha wrote in the report.
He also noted that although growth will turn slightly positive the second half of this year, it will remain weak for a year, picking up more in the second half of 2010.
He expects Washington’s unemployment rate to rise to 9.9 percent in the April-May-June 2010 time frame. It was only 4.4 percent in December 2006, and was 8.9 percent in April.
The official revenue forecast comes out in mid-June.