A survey conducted by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve involving 45 economic forecasters estimated that with current trends, unemployment is likely to drop to 8.1% by the fourth quarter. This poll shows an upward trend in the forecasting of economic prospects. A similar poll conducted in November projected unemployment averaging 8.7% in the fourth quarter. This optimism about the future of the nation’s economy is not necessarily unfounded. As of January the employment rate declined to 8.3%, a major improvement from November’s unemployment rate of 8.7%.