More and more economists are predicting that the economy, in wimp-like fashion, will backpedal into a recession, and soon. With oil prices spiraling upward, growth may fall to zero, or below. This week will provide several important measures of the economic pulse, including the latest revision of the gross national product for the second quarter, due out tomorrow.
At last measure, GNP was seen to be rising at a barely perceptible 1.2 percent annual rate. Whether that rate has slowed still further is conjectural, but few economists are saying the economy has leaped forward. In fact, 58 percent of the 50 economists and forecasting groups surveyed in the most recent query by Blue Chip Economic Indicators are predicting that a recession will start this year or next.
Watch for: A slight upward revision in the second-quarter GNP figure, to an annual rate of 1.4 percent. An upward move would demonstrate that the nation's service sector remains vital, and that exports continue to impart some vigor. Whatever figure is revealed, watch for complaints that the number is already outdated.