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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s economy is expected to remain at full employment during 1999, although growth will slow as business expansion diminishes worldwide, researchers at the University of Tennessee said Friday.

Dr. Matt Murray, economist in the UT-Knoxville Center for Business and Economic Research, said statewide unemployment is expected to close out 1998 at 4.4 percent.

“We project unemployment in 1999 will rise to 4.5 percent, but still remain below national levels,” Murray said. “At 4.5, that’s still considered full employment.”

Personal income is expected to close 1998 with 5.1 percent growth, slipping slightly to 4.9 percent growth during 1999.

Job growth in durable goods (autos, furniture, major appliances) employment is projected at .3 percent going from 1998 into 1999, while job losses in the non-durable goods sector (textiles, apparel, leather) will increase from 1.9 percent in 1998 to 2.3 percent next year, Murray said.

In the construction sector, activity next year is expected to slow considerably, despite lower interest rates, because of slower job and income growth and less commercial and industrial development, Murray said.

While taxable sales are expected to end 1998 with weak growth of 2.6 percent, growth of 4.5 percent is expected in 1999.

A full forecast is available in the fall edition of Tennessee Business and Economic Outlook, published by the center.