Surveys Put U.S. Growth At About 2%

Two recent surveys suggest the U.S. economy is retreating markedly from the 3.9% increase in gross domestic product (GDP) recorded in 1997 and the 3.4% rise expected for full-year 1998. Some 79.4% of those surveyed earlier this month at the National Assn. of Manufacturers' board of directors meeting in Washington, D.C., see GDP over the next two calendar quarters between 0% and 1.9%. Just over 15% expect growth of 2% to 2.4%, and only 1.7% forecast growth of 2.5% to 2.9%. There were bears on the board; 3.4% foresee two quarters of negative growth, the classic definition of economic recession. About the same time, members of the National Assn. of Business Economics were looking ahead as well. Their forecast: 2.2% increase in GDP in 1999.

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