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Economic Balancing Act Supply and demand reach equilibrium

BY STEVE BRAWNER ContributingWriter

The economy has only a 25 percent

chance of undergoing a double-dip recession and instead probably will be growing slowly through the first half of 2011. But for trucking companies, good times should be ahead. That’s the forecast of Bob Costello, American Trucking Associations’ chief economist. Costello made his predictions in October

at the ATA Management Conference and Exhibition in Phoenix as a panelist along with David Huether, chief economist with the National Association of Manufacturers, and Scott Krugman, National Retail Federation vice president. According to Costello, a double-dip

recession is unlikely because credit conditions are easing and mortgage rates are falling, because corporations are flush with cash that they will have to spend, and because key cyclical markets such as housing and autos are already at low levels and won’t drop much farther. Meanwhile, exports are doing well and $150 billion in federal stimulus money is still in the pipeline. He said that inflation is not an immediate concern and that the Federal Reserve won’t make any big changes to interest rates until early 2012. According to Krugman, the economy “will

be firing on all cylinders during the last half of 2011,” and 2012 and 2013 should be good years. But three big uncertainties are hampering

growth: extension of the “Bush tax cuts”; health care costs; and the general economic outlook. The economy also faces a number of

long-term concerns, according to Costello. Government debt now equals 60 percent of gross domestic product, which puts the United States in a significantly better position than the United Kingdom, Canada, Portugal, Germany, France, Greece and Italy. But the situation worsens during the next 10 years. By 2020, the national debt will equal $20 trillion, or 90 percent of gross domestic product and worse than all of the above listed countries

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