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U.S. Economy on Course for Steady Growth

MarketWatch (11/24/14) Jeffrey Bartash

The U.S. economy appears to be charting a steady course forward after zigging and zagging repeatedly since exiting recession in 2009. However, the economy is advancing at a relatively modest pace that is below its historical average and growth is unlikely to race ahead soon. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect U.S. growth in the third quarter to be ratcheted down to still-healthy 3.3% from 3.5%. The reason: Exports and business investment in plants and offices were probably somewhat weaker than initially reported.

The flip side is that consumer spending may have been a bit stronger and there is no reason to expect a slowdown in the fourth quarter, especially with a steep drop in gasoline prices giving consumers the equivalent of a year-end bonus. Just as important incomes likely rose in October for the 10th straight month, adding to evidence that wages are beginning to rise, albeit slowly, after hardly any change in the past four years. The biggest spate of hiring in at least a decade is causing labor shortages in some professions that’s spurring companies to offer higher wages as a lure.