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More U.S. Economists See Half-Full Glass

New York Times (01/10/14) Nelson D. Schwartz

A number of economists have revised their U.S. economic forecasts as exports have risen, the trade deficit has declined over four years, consumer spending has improved, and job creation has slowly picked up. Expectations for growth in late 2013 and early 2014 could signal a more sustained economic expansion, but many economists still remain cautious.

Barclays chief U.S. economist Dean Maki indicates the economy expanded at an annualized pace of 3.0% in October, November, and December, and he estimates that consumer spending increased at a 3.8% rate in the same period, the fastest in three years. Should Maki’s forecasts be correct, the American economy would have grown at a 3.0% rate in the fourth quarter, after the 4.1% gain in the third quarter, marking the best back-to-back quarterly performance in two years and adding up to a gain for the year of about 2.7%.