NAM Foresees 'Ugly' U.S. Economic Recovery

By John S. McClenahen The latest economic forecast from the National Assn. of Manufacturers (NAM) gives credence to executives who expect recovery from the current U.S. recession to be ragged and later rather than sooner in coming. "The recovery in 2002 will be ugly and U-shaped . . . without significant growth in investment and exports," says Jerry J. Jasinowski, president of Washington-based NAM. Following a 2.7% contraction in the economy during the current calendar quarter, the economy will expand at just a 1.7% annual rate in the first quarter of next year, NAM predicts. The second quarter of 2002 should see growth at a 2.4% annual rate, and the second half of the year is forecast to expand at a 3.5% annual rate. Delayed investment spending by business is one reason NAM offers for a slow recovery. The manufacturing group doesn't see quarterly declines ending until the second half of 2002, with spending finally beginning to increase at a 6% annual rate in the third quarter and at a 10% rate in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, NAM figures a lousy U.S. export performance will strip 1.4 percentage points from GDP during the recession, a result of "the harmful combination of an overvalued dollar plus a general world economic slowdown," something that did not occur in the two most recent U.S. recession's in 1982 and 1990.

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