Atlanta Fed President Guynn Expects Moderate Economic Growth Again in 1997

EMBARGOED UNTIL 1 P.M. Jan. 6, 1997

ATLANTA--The U.S. economic outlook for 1997 is "not much changed from last year's, and last year was a good year," said Jack Guynn, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

He told the Atlanta Rotary Club today that the national economy should grow moderately between 2 and 2-1/2 percent in 1997 on an annual average basis, "perhaps a tad slower than last year." He also said that inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, should continue at about its current 3 percent level and that the unemployment rate should also continue at around 5-1/2 percent.

Guynn went on to discuss several public policy issues. "I've begun to think that the long string of good economic years -- with no end to this current expansion yet in sight -- has brought on a certain amount of complacency in our nation toward all things economic, and particularly toward inflation and deficit reduction," he said. Guynn explained that this complacency could divert the nation's attention away from "holding onto the gains we've made in regard to price stability."

He also called for more public debate on this issue. "Now that we've achieved a steady inflation rate of around 3 percent or less for five years, the next question becomes, Would an even lower rate of inflation optimize economic performance?" he asked.

Deficit reduction was the other public policy issue he addressed. He stressed the importance of being prepared to make sacrifices and to embrace far-reaching changes that would improve the long-term economic health of the nation.

Text of delivered speech

Contact: Jean Tate 404-498-8035