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Business economists see U.S. slowing but avoiding recession

Washington | The nation’s business economists expect U.S. economic growth to decelerate this year and next but for the economy to avoid stumbling into recession, extending a record-breaking expansion already in its 11th year.

The latest survey by 53 forecasters with the National Association for Business Economics shows that they expect economic growth to slow from 2.9% last year to 2.3% in 2019 and 1.8% in 2020. The forecasts are unchanged from the association’s previous survey in October.

The economists put the odds of a recession starting at 5% this year, 21% in the first half of 2020 and 43% by the end of next year.

However, they peg the odds of a recession by mid-2021 at 66%.

Trucking company files

for bankruptcy

after fraud scheme

INDIANAPOLIS | An Indiana trucking company with nearly 4,000 employees said Monday it filed for bankruptcy and will shut down all operations, just days after two former officials were charged in a fraud scheme.

Celadon Group has faced significant costs related to a federal investigation and also must deal with debt and “enormous challenges” in the industry, chief executive Paul Svindland said in a statement.

William Meek, 39, and Bobby Lee Peavler, 40, were indicted on conspiracy and other charges. They knew the value of a substantial portion of Celadon’s trucks had declined and that many trucks had serious mechanical issues that made them unattractive to drivers, according to the indictment.

Earlier this year, Celadon agreed to pay $42.2 million to settle securities fraud allegations stemming from falsely reporting profits and assets.

EU approves state aid to develop car battery industry

BRUSSELS | The European Union has approved 3.2 billion euros ($3.5 billion) in subsidies from seven member countries that want to develop the electric battery industry and challenge China’s supremacy.

The EU said Monday that the plan subsidized by Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden will support research and innovation in a crucial sector where Europe is lagging behind Asian competitors and largely relies on imports.

According to the EU, the member states’ funding should unlock an additional 5 billion euros in private investment.

— From AP reports