Less glint on the crystal ball . . .

Economists are looking at 1982 with a sober outlook on business. Some 40 top businesss economists surveyed by Blue Chip Economic Indicators (Sedona, Ariz.) have on average chipped a full percentage point off their forecasts for growth in the US economy. In July, they expected the nation's output of goods and services to grow 3.2 percent in real terms next year. Now they see the gain in GNP at only 2.3 percent.

Moreover, they reckon that national output will decline in the current quarter, as it did in the second and third quarters of the year.

On the more hopeful side, the economists see a decline in the inflation rate next year, with the consumer price index increasing 8 percent and the broader GNP deflator rising 7.8 percent.

Further, it expects interest rates to decline 1 percent more this year and some 3 percent next year. That, says Blue Chip's Rober J. Eggert, "is still nothing to write home about."

A survey by the American Statistical Association and the National Bureau of Economic Research produced similar findings among some 35 economists, many of them in academia: the GNP price deflator up 8 percent in 1982, vs. 8.8 percent this year; consumer prices up 8 percent next year (10 percent this year); GNP up 2.8 percent in real terms in 1982; and interest rates still high but declining.

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