A panel of 36 economists surveyed in early September forecast slower growth, little inflation, low unemployment, and no recession in 1999, according to a report released Monday.
Economists polled by the National Association for Business Economics predicted that the nation's output of goods and services would grow 2.2% in 1999, versus an estimated 3.4% in 1998. The major reason, they said, is the expanding U.S. trade deficit, which is subtracted from output.
Meanwhile, the panel forecast that inflation would hit 2.2% in 1999, and the unemployment rate would remain low at 4.7%.
Most of the economists - nearly 80% - did not see a U.S. recession before 2000. Eighty-six percent said year-2000 computer problems would be temporary and quickly resolved.
In a speech to the association following the study's release, Federal Reserve Board Governor Laurence H. Meyer said he largely concurred with the forecast of a "benign slowdown." He cited two additional reasons for projecting slower growth, including the recent stock market decline and lenders' "generally reduced appetite for risk."