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KNOXVILLE — The nation will soon set a record for sustained economic growth, and a University of Tennessee economist says it may continue through 2000.

Dr. Bill Fox said Thursday the U.S. economic expansion that began in March 1991 will extend through February, breaking the 106-month record growth of the 1960s.

“I see nothing on the horizon to end this current expansion,” Fox said. “We are going to set a new record soon, but there is no reason to believe that the economy will slow down once the old record is broken.”

The Vietnam War, the 1970s oil embargo, sharp interest rate hikes and inflation have disrupted U.S. economic expansion since World War II, he said.

The nation’s economy has not become recession-proof, Fox said, but a strong job market, high consumer confidence and low inflation ensure continued economic growth at least for the near future.

“The normal ups and downs of the business cycle will occur,” Fox said. “Recessions will continue to happen, but it will have to be something we do not anticipate at this point that leads to a recession.

“We just are not aware of anything right now to suggest such a slowdown.”