It was only a month or so ago that observers were confidently predicting a healthy pickup in economic activity in the third quarter based on U.S. auto makers plans to boost output substantially. Domestic motor vehicle production schedules were strong enough to add as much as two percentage points to the economys growth rate, experts said.
Not anymore. Economist Edward S. Hyman of International Strategy & Investment Group notes that auto makers, depressed by recent sluggish sales, have revised production schedules downwardso that unit auto output is now slated to come in only slightly above its second-quarter pace. "If car sales pick up, output will follow," says Hyman, "but right now, Detroit seems likely to add only a marginal amount to third-quarter economic growth."