The Blue Chip Economic Indicators panel of forecasters said it expected U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) to expand at a rate of 2.6% in 2003. The prediction was down from a rate of 2.7% projected in February and 2.8% forecast in January. However, industry analyst Martin Labbe said a drop of two-tenths of a point is not significant enough to alter the plans of trucking companies. "The fact that they have made that small of an adjustment shows the underlying strength of the economy," said Labbe, president of Martin Labbe Associates. Labbe noted that a GDP increase of 3.6% is expected in the third quarter, while fourth-quarter GDP growth is pegged at 3.8%. The reduction was based on the threat of a U.S. war against Iraq and bad winter weather in the Northeast. Other factors such as a decline in January housing starts were also taken into consideration.