WesCorp Forum's Analysts Optimistic AboutNearterm

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LAS VEGAS - (09/24/04) -- Two economic analysts have givencredit unions a generally upbeat prognosis for the economy.Speaking to WesCorp's Economic Forum here, Salt Lake City-basedconsultant Jeff Thredgold said inflation will remain below 2% ascompanies feel they cannot raise prices. When third quarter grossdomestic product figures are released in a few weeks, Thredgoldexpects GDP growth will be about 3.25%. "The estimate had been for3.5%, but the effects of multiple hurricanes on Florida will holdit down." Thredgold also dismissed talk of a "jobless recovery,"saying the U.S. has added 1.5 million jobs in the last 12 months,adding that a household survey contradicts the payroll survey ofemployment that often appears in the media. Meanwhile, David Wyss,chief economist for Standard & Poor's, told the meeting hestill sees 3.5% economic growth for this year, with continued lowunemployment. "It's pretty darn good, just not as good as the late1990s," he assessed. The forecast from Standard & Poor's callsfor a gradual rise in interest rates in 2005, a slowdown in bothhousing starts and home prices, and a weak recovery for the stockmarket.

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