Wall Street Journal (02/07/13) Phil Izzo
The U.S. Department of Commerce says gross domestic product grew just 1.5% in 2012, which was less than the 2.4% growth rate predicted by economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal at the beginning of last year. Economists are now forecasting a 2.4% growth rate for 2013, pointing to stronger economic fundamentals this time around, citing the housing market rebound and an increase in auto sales, among other things. However, there are concerns about the impact of government spending reductions on the GDP, with 0.6 percentage point shaved from the growth rate if the sequester goes into effect in March. Meanwhile, economists predict that the unemployment rate will slip to 7.4% by the end of the year.