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APRIL JOB FIGURES CONTRIBUTE LITTLE, TWO FORECASTERS SAY

 APRIL JOB FIGURES CONTRIBUTE LITTLE, TWO FORECASTERS SAY
 CHICAGO, May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the job market's


improvement, the economic recovery still is expected to be weaker than those of past cycles, said one investment research company's economic forecasters.
 Wayne C. Stevens and Kathryn J. Lunstrum of Duff & Phelps/MCM Investment Research Company cited the importance of an improved labor market to ongoing economic growth. Stevens, president, and Lunstrum, assistant vice president, commented on April's job figures in light of the company's first quarter economic overview report.
 "We're still monitoring the employment situation very closely," Stevens said. "At this point in the recovery, we see growth in consumer incomes and employment as key to sustainable growth."
 While April brought the largest employment increase in 11 months and also marked the third consecutive month of upticks, "If you exclude the health care sector, payrolls have registered virtually no growth at all in the past year," Lunstrum said. On the bright side, she observed, "There seems to be a slowing of layoffs. Stabilization in employment seems to be occurring."
 Additionally, some economic forecasters are predicting lower interest rates and resulting economic benefits. Stevens and Lunstrum believe prospects for further downward movement in rates are limited, and while rates may not rise dramatically, the recovery cannot benefit much further from a declining-rate environment.
 Stevens and Lunstrum expect annual real growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the vicinity of 2 percent, based on second-quarter GDP growth of about 2 percent and second-half growth in the range of 2.5 percent to 3 percent.
 In its first quarter economic review and forecast, the company said:
 -- Real growth in coming quarters will be mediocre compared with prior economic rebounds.
 -- Stronger consumer activity during the first quarter may lead to slower growth in following periods because spending appeared to exceed the strength of underlying fundamentals.
 -- While growth signals vary among the measurements and sectors, "The positive forces appeared to be gaining the upper hand over enduring economic millstones." Credit and cash availability, a low rate of inflation and slightly higher demand levels stood in opposition to service and defense industry, overcapacity, high debt levels in both private and public sectors and problems in banking, thrifts and other areas of the financial system.
 -- Business capital spending and the housing sector should show relative growth, while weakness will remain in non-residential construction and government spending. The trade sector's contribution will be neutral.
 -- Growth in the basic components of the economic cycle -- demand, production, income and employment -- must be consistently solid if this year's recovery attempt is to succeed where 1991's approach failed. "Without requisite minimal growth, consumer and business sentiment is undermined and the economy's susceptibility to episodic bouts of weakness (as in 1991) is enhanced," the report said.
 -0- 5/13/92
 /CONTACT: Wayne C. Stevens, 312-630-4560, or Kathryn J. Lunstrum, 312-630-4567, both of Duff & Phelps/MCM Investment Research; or Jacqueline Bitowt of Duff & Phelps, 312-630-4624/ CO: Duff & Phelps/MCM Investment Research Company ST: Illinois IN: FIN SU: ECO


CK -- NY101 -- 9878 05/13/92 16:13 EDT
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Date:May 13, 1992
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