Forecasting as a Tool of Government
After the longest expansion in postwar history, the American economy in the first quarter of 1967 virtually ceased to grow. The gross national product—the sum of all goods and services produced in the United States—rose only $5 billion (to an annual rate of $744.6 billion) over the rate recorded for the final quarter of 1966. That small gain gave clear proof of a drastic change of pace in the country's economic growth. Economists now are sharply divided as to what will happen next. Some predict an early resumption of the recent record-setting upward climb in production, personal income, and employment that began in 1961; others are less optimistic, predicting either a continuation of the current pause or a recession.