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SLOW GROWTH AHEAD, SAY WASHINGTON ECONOMISTS

 SLOW GROWTH AHEAD, SAY WASHINGTON ECONOMISTS
 SEATTLE, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Washington will experience slow


growth in the coming year, according to remarks prepared for delivery today by two leading economists at an Economic Forecast Seminar hosted by The Economic Development Council of Seattle & King County (The EDC).
 "Barring a second national recession, we should see signs of a pickup during the next few months," said Richard S. Conway, Jr., principal of Conway & Associates. "But there is little likelihood that the Washington economy will return to the boom times of the recent past."
 Conway said the state's rapid economic growth during the later part of the 1980s was largely attributable to the expansion of the aerospace industry. "Without the aerospace surge, Washington would have grown at about the national rate during this period," he said.
 Conway added that in 1992 the state economy will probably grow at rates "more like those of the nation," due to the slowdown of the aerospace and timber industries, defense spending cutbacks and the likely loss of jobs related to the banking merger of SeaFirst and Security Pacific.
 "Since forecasters at the national level foresee a relatively weak recovery from the recession, in part because the recession has been shallow, Washington has entered a period of generally slower growth," he said. "As measured by annual employment change, economic growth over the next two years is expected to average less than 2 percent, down from the 5 percent growth rate of the 1988 to 1990 period.
 "Slower economic growth in turn will reduce the rate of in-migration and keep housing starts below 40,000 per year," he continued. "Because of moderating inflation rates for housing and fuel, the Seattle Consumer Price Index will increase between 3 and 4 percent per year in 1992 and 1993."
 John W. Mitchell, senior vice president and chief economist at U.S. Bancorp, agreed that Washington's economic growth will be closely tied to a national resurgence. "The resumption of growth in Washington awaits a rekindling of the national upturn which should happen later this year," he said.
 Mitchell also pointed out that although there are some "possible perils" facing the state in 1992, the economy will be strengthened by continued population growth, the likely introduction of investment incentives and improved performance in the software and agricultural industries.
 Conway said the slowdown in Washington is primarily centered in the Seattle area, which was one of the nation's top-rated urban economies little more than one year ago. Between December 1989 and December 1990, Seattle was outperformed by the rest of Washington for the first time since 1983.
 "Based on year-over-year employment growth through September 1991, the Bellingham, Bremerton, Olympia, Spokane and Tri-Cities economies are still displaying considerable life," he said. "In contrast, rural areas of the state, especially those dependent upon the timber industry, are suffering a severe downturn."
 The Economic Forecast Luncheon & Seminars is sponsored by The EDC. Its purpose is to generate an exchange of ideas and projections among industry leaders and policy makers regarding the state's economic outlook in the coming year.
 -0- 1/9/92
 /CONTACT: Andy Hopson or Elisabeth George of The EDC, 206-386-5040/ CO: ST: Washington IN: SU: ECO


GK-TS -- NY009 -- 8207 01/09/92 12:01 EST
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Date:Jan 9, 1992
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