Outlook for U.S. economy impresses experts

July 2, 2004 at 7:46 AM

NEW YORK, July 2 (UPI) -- A survey of economists revealed Friday widespread agreement the U.S. economy will grow steadily for the rest of the year.

The Wall Street Journal's midyear poll of 55 economic forecasters found expectations of industrial growth, lower unemployment and declining inflation.

The nation's gross domestic product, its broadest measure of economic activity, is expected to grow at a yearly rate of 4.4 percent in both the second and third quarters, and 4.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

"We're entering a phase where the economy is picking up momentum," says Diane Swonk, chief economist at Bank One. Companies have "record profits, record cash flow ... top-line revenue growth and order backlogs -- you can't ask for more."

Those projections represent a jump from actual growth of 3.9 percent in the first quarter. The economists forecast slower growth of 3.7 percent during the first half of 2005.

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