By John S. McClenahen "Leading indicators are beginning to signal better times ahead." "Pace of the recovery . . . is likely to be modest." "A continued sharp rise in unemployment is to be expected." Those could be descriptions of the U.S. economy for the year 2002. They are, however, part of Paris-based BNP Paribas' 2002 economic outlook for the 12 European Union nations that use the euro. For Euroland, the financial services firm forecasts 0.9% growth in GDP this year, a 1.2% inflation rate and an 8.8% unemployment rate. Not until 2003, says BNP Paribas, will the growth rate return to its potential of 2% to 2.5%. Of the 15 European Union countries, only three -- Britain, Denmark and Sweden -- currently do not use the euro.