Economists See 1.5% Growth Rate; Predict Nation Will Shake off Recession Slowly but Surely in 1992

American Banker, February 25, 1992 | Go to article overview

Economists See 1.5% Growth Rate; Predict Nation Will Shake off Recession Slowly but Surely in 1992


WASHINGTON -- The U.S. economy will crawl out of its recession slowly and will not fall back, according to a poll by an economists' group.

The National Association of Business Economists said the median prediction of 49 professional forecasters was for a growth rate of 0.5% in the first quarter of 1992 and an average rate of 1.5% for the year.

Those projections are significantly lower than was seen in previous surveys by the business economists group.

In an August survey, the median forescast was for a 2.5% economic growth rate for the first quarter of 1992 and for an annual average growth of 2.6% for the year.

Shrinkage in 1990

After contracting sharply in late 1990 and early 1991, the economy has been expanding modestly since April in what some economists call a "growth recession."

The government made a preliminary estimate that the economy moved forward at a 0.3% annual rate in the last quarter of 1991 - a very slow rate.

For the year the economy shrank 0.7%.

Although nearly all the economists expect a subdued recovery, only 8% of the respondents in the survey - taken in late January and early February - expected the economy to fall back into recession within the next year.

Consumer Debt a Key

The main reason cited by respondents for the weak recovery is the high level of debt that has discouraged buying.

Wary consumers from taking out new loans to buy cars, houses, and other "big ticket" items that would help stimulate business activity. …

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