NRF Predicts Economy Will Avoid Recession

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NEW YORK -- The National Retail Federation yesterday maintained confidence that the U.S. economy would enjoy moderate growth and avoid entering a recession this year.

NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells said that relatively low inflationary pressures, loosening labor markets and the Federal Reserve's new focus on forestalling recession would allow the economy to regain a moderate footing.

"Our forecast is that we will experience a slowdown that, with the Fed's help, will not end in a hard landing," Wells said in the NRF's Winter 2001 Retail Sales Outlook newsletter.

The Federal Reserve earlier this year lowered interest rates, dropping the federal fund rate from 6.5 percent to 6 percent.

The NRF believes the drop should help soften the blow to the real estate market and in turn ease the pain on retailers selling home-related merchandise.

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