Manufacturing Seen Running Just Ahead Of GDP In Next Two Years

But production growth is likely to be well below 2006's 4.8%.

After significantly outpacing GDP growth for a couple of years, manufacturing production is likely to grow just slightly faster than the overall U.S. economy in 2007 and 2008, indicate data released by Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, an Arlington, Va.-based business and public policy research group.

The alliance foresees inflation-adjusted GDP rising 2.5% next year and 3.3% in 2008, following this year's 3.3% increase. The group expects manufacturing production to grow 2.6% in 2007 and 3.4% in 2008, a tenth of a percentage point better than real GDP growth in each year. The alliance figures manufacturing production will advance 4.8% this year.

Despite a slow economy, the alliance's economic forecast for the next two years anticipates little increase in the U.S. unemployment rate from the 4.6% projected for this year. It expects the jobless rate to be 4.8% in 2007 and 4.7% in 2008.

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