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NAM Bullish On GDP; Bearish On Manufacturing Jobs

By John S. McClenahen With Jerry J. Jasinowski, its president, asserting "we have a lot of rocket fuel in this economy," the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) figures U.S. GDP will grow at an annual rate of "roughly 4%" during the second half of this year and at a 3.7% rate in 2004. However, NAM is not as optimistic about job growth in U.S. manufacturing. David Huether, NAM's chief economist, sees manufacturing employment stabilizing during the rest of this year and a relatively modest 200,000 to 250,000 manufacturing jobs being created in 2004. NAM estimates that U.S. manufacturing has lost about 2.7 million jobs during the last three years and that, barring public policy changes, only about 50% will return to the economy.

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