Tuesday, September 19, 2000

Tristate's growth to slow

Performance will outpace nation's

By John J. Byczkowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Economic growth will slow next year as the Federal Reserve's interest-rate increases take greater effect, but Cincinnati's diverse economy will allow it to grow faster than the nation overall, a panel of local economists believes.

        “We're looking for a slowing of the economy that's consistent with the policy the Federal Reserve has taken,” said Richard Stevie of Cinergy Corp., who is chairman of economic advisory committee for the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.

        Slower growth isn't bad. Growth “is slowing down from 5 percent to the mid 3's, which is still pretty good performance,” he said. “We'd have been jumping for joy to have that kind of performance in the '70s and early '80s.”

        The chamber panel will present its projections for the local economy at a breakfast meeting today at Crowne Plaza Hotel downtown. The New Economy's impact locally will also be discussed.

        The panel's projections:

        • Gross regional prod uct: Growth will slow from 5.4 percent this year to 4.3 percent in 2001, as local manufacturers remain strong. That's faster than growth nationally.

        • Employment: The number of job will grow 1.7 percent in 2001, down from 2.1 percent this year. The unemployment rate is expected to remain at 3.3 percent, below the national rate of 4 percent.

        • Manufacturing employment: Up 0.1 percent this year, it's expected to decline 0.1 percent in 2001, as gains in productivity allow manufacturers to hold the line on hiring.

        • Construction: Higher interest rates will continue to cut into home construction, while an explosion of suburban office space means less will be built in 2001.


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