U.S. Economy Predicted to Grow at 3.1 Percent Pace in 2015

Low oil prices, job growth and consumer spending helping to spur growth

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS–(Marketwired – Feb. 13, 2015) – The U.S. economy is expected to maintain solid growth throughout 2015, with real GDP forecast to grow at a pace of 3.1 percent, says a report issued today by BMO Economics.

The positive growth prediction is a result of a variety of factors, namely lower oil prices, strong consumer spending, significant job growth, solid housing market momentum and significant business investment.

"Consumer spending and housing look to lead economic growth this year, more than offsetting weakening net exports and ebbing business investment flows, particularly in the oil sector," said Michael Gregory, Head of U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets. "While wage trends continue to disappoint, for consumers and the economy as a whole, this is being more than offset by the sheer number of jobs being created."

In the Midwest, Illinois is positioned to accelerate growth for the second straight year, with low oil prices, increased consumer spending and business investment driving the state forward.

"We're here to help business owners and executives in the Midwest as they continue to invest in their businesses, spurring further growth," said Dave Casper, Executive Vice President and Head, Commercial Banking, BMO Harris Bank. "While the Midwest growth forecast is slightly behind the national average, it's important to note that the outlook is still positive, and that forecasted growth continues to trend in a positive direction."

Consumer spending and housing look to lead economic growth this year, more than offsetting weakening net exports and ebbing business investment flows

The auto sector is driving solid growth in Indiana, while Wisconsin should also benefit from lower oil prices and firming factory activity. Minnesota's diverse economy continues to perform well. While growing conditions have been volatile in recent years, Kansas and Missouri are seeing improved output; however they are also experiencing slightly below-average real GDP growth.

To view a full copy of the report, visit here.

About BMO Harris Bank BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Banking products and services are subject to bank or credit approval. BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and CDN $589 billion in assets (as of Oct. 31, 2014).