BUSINESS ECONOMISTS PREDICT NO RECESSION THROUGH THIS YEAR

BUSINESS ECONOMISTS PREDICT NO RECESSION THROUGH THIS YEAR

A survey of business economists Monday predicted no U.S. recession through 1991, but warned of slowing growth and a worsening federal budget deficit.

The poll of 68 professional forecasters, conducted by the National Association of Business Economists, said despite a surge in food and energy costs after the December cold snap inflation would finish the year at 4.7 percent and fall to 4.3 percent in 1991."Four out of five forecasters predict that there will be no recession through 1991," the group said. "That would be a postwar record for a business expansion (109 months), exceeding the previous longest cyclical upturn of 106 months (from 1961-69)."

The current expansion started in November 1982.

Interest rates are expected to remain at current levels through the end of the year and decline slightly in 1991, while unemployment should hover in the 5.4 percent range during both years, the survey said.

Real economic growth is expected to run at 2.1 percent in 1990 and 2.5 percent in 1991, following a gain of 2.6 percent last year.

''Relative strength is forecast to persist in business investments and trade, as (after-tax) corporate profits rebound with a 6.6 percent gain," it said. "Housing starts and auto sales remain in the doldrums."