"If we get that level of growth, our budget imbalance will only be about 7 percent," Muchow said. "If we fail to get that growth level, it will be higher."
Deskins is predicting 1 percent growth annually for the next five years. However, he cautioned the growth is not evenly spread across the state's 55 counties.
Andrew Bauer, senior regional economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, said the U.S. economy is improving but that growth is slower than expected.
"Unfortunately we were hoping to see once the Great Recession ended at some point some ... really strong growth, but we just haven't seen that," Bauer said.
"We've settled into this situation where the U.S. economy continues to move along in a very modest rate."
The national economy's moderate pace is expected to continue through the second half of this year and into next year. Consumer spending needs to increase for the economy to grow faster.
Real GDP growth was less than 2 percent for the first half of the year, Bauer said.
"Some of that was expected. ... This time last year we were not talking about government shutdowns, we were talking about the fiscal cliff," Bauer said. "We're hoping that it is going to pick up a little bit from where it's been over the last couple quarters."
Auto sales are now back to pre-recession purchasing levels, signaling more consumer confidence.
The rate of home sales is back to 5.5 million units, where it was during the housing boom of 2004-2005.
"The trends in the housing market look very positive," Bauer said. "It's nice to be able to say that after years of the housing market moving in the wrong direction.
The Federal Open Market Committee expects the economy to pick up a little bit in the second half of the year so that growth for the year is a little better than 2 percent. In 2014, FOMC estimates growth at 3 percent.
"It's not until 2015, when the FOMC is expecting much stronger rates of growth, around 3 and 3.5 percent," Bauer said.
Reach Caitlin Cook at caitlin.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.