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By Dan Adkins


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Growth will accerate during 2002's fourth quarter, setting the stage for moderate growth in 2003 and 2004, said Mark Berger, director of UK's Center for Business and Economic Research.

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Dec. 18, 2001 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Kentucky's economy will experience slow growth during 2002 as the state begins its recovery from the current recession, economists at the University of Kentucky said today.

The state's economy will grow by 1.8 percent next year, with total employment rising by a weak 0.9 percent, said Mark Berger, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at UK's Gatton College of Business and Economics. However, growth will accelerate during 2002's fourth quarter, setting the stage for moderate growth in 2003 and 2004, Berger said.

He noted that even with the economic slowdown prompted by the recession, Kentucky still seems primed to continue a recent trend of exceeding the performance in the national economy. An example is in the national forecast for total employment to rise by an anemic 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, total personal income should grow by 2.4 percent, equal the growth rate expected for wage and salary earnings.

As in previous years, most increases in employment are expected in the services and retail trade sectors. Services industry employment should add 12,000 jobs, bringing its growth rate to 2.4 percent. Retail trade should add 4,600 new jobs, an increase of 1.3 percent. Industries facing likely job losses include the manufacturing sector, which is expected to lose 2,000 jobs in 2002, a 0.7 percent rate of loss. The main industries facing losses are apparel, textiles and tobacco products.

Kentucky's coal industry - which was predicted to lose jobs in the 2001 forecast - actually added a few hundred jobs this year, Berger said. In 2002, the forecast calls for the industry to lose about 600 jobs, or 4 percent of its total employment.

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