Look for a pronounced slowdown in economic growth in 1998. That's the prediction presented by Reed Elsevier Business Economics (formerly Cahners Economics) in its "Economics Outlook for 1998." The report sees GDP rising by an inflation-adjusted 2.3% in 1998 from the heady 3.7% 1997 level. Moreover, interest rates should be somewhat higher this year, as the Federal Reserve Board "pursues a marginally tighter monetary policy." Three major trends bear watching during 1998, the report warns. All will have some moderating influence on the U.S. economy's growth potential: a pronounced slowdown in the growth rate of business investment spending; high levels of consumer debt, particularly installment debt; and an uptick in inflation brought about by increased average wage demands resulting from historically low levels of unemployment. On the industrial front, Reed Elsevier expects only moderate growth in 1998. Output gains will increase 3.4%, with capacity utilization declining modestly to 82.7% (from 1997's average of about 83%). U.S.-based international trade should continue to make an important contribution to the overall growth in GDP, say the Reed Elsevier economists, expanding by a solid 8.3% this year. To obtain a copy of the report, phone (800) 662-7776.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.