Industrial forecast, 1998-2000 by Karen P. Griffith

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By Karen P. Griffith

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Donald Ratajczak of Georgia State University foresees constraints on consumer lending slowing the growth of consumer spending compared to 1996. Consumer spending will be adequate, however, due to increased paychecks, and wages that outpace inflation. Consumer spending accounts for approximately 65 percent of the nation's economy. In reports released in late December 1996, consumer confidence is reported at a seven year high. New home sales are also up. 8 in December, the highest since November 1989.

Corn and cotton production was 30 percent below 1995 levels. Oil drilling is increasing. District 12 (San Francisco) ended 1996 with strong economic growth. Construction and real-estate sales were strong, but southern California's overall economy was still weak. During mid-1996 computer-chip makers cut staff and delayed building plans due to slowing demand. Summer prices for the region's produce, especially fruits, vegetables and dairy, were strong, but cattle ranchers struggled. Construction spending increased in late 1996 due to the storm disasters.

VALUE OF CONSTRUCTION WORK (mil. ) Value added3 (mil. 586 10,967 6,438 Nonresidential buildings. 0 44 36 1,485 1,125 7,198 5,316 3,078 Water, sewer. 905 198,942 122,336 Plumbing. 458 7,956 5,146 Plastering. drywall. 056 12,824 8,143 Terrazzo tile, marble. 032 2,166 Roofing, siding. 059 928 775 Installing building equipment. c. 611 6,132 4,494 Special trade contractors. c. 1799 25 3 204 157 4,435 3,120 13,667 12,325 8,270 X Not applicable. 1 Standard Industrial Classification. see, text, section 13.

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