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Even Pessimists Feel Optimistic About the American Economy

New York Times (06/16/13) Nelson Schwartz

A number of economists in academia and on Wall Street are now predicting healthier, more lasting growth, something the U.S. has not experienced in years. Two widely followed economic forecasters, Morgan Stanley and IHS Global Insight, have both increased their estimates for growth in recent days. “It’s been a long time coming,” says Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS. “There is more optimism about the U.S. and in particular about the second half of this year and 2014. Three months ago, we wouldn’t have come to that same conclusion.” A number of forecasters are now predicting that the expansion, which began in 2009 and has remained subpar ever since, might prove to be far more durable than the typical five-to-six-year growth cycle, in part because of the absence of the traditional boom, then bust pattern. Behravesh now expects the annual growth rate to rise to 2.9% in 2014 and 3.5% in 2015, well above the 2% rise in output the economy has averaged over the last three years. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office also sees relatively fast growth of 3.4% next year, and 3.6% between 2015 and 2018.