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So, Is the Economy Improving or Not?

Why the pessimism about the economy? Last Monday, we learned that U.S. factories are expanding at their fastest pace in more than two years, capping the manufacturing industry's best six-month period since the recession ended in June 2009.

So, Is the Economy Improving or Not?

November’s closely-watched Purchasing Manager’s Index from the Institute for Supply Management rose to 57.3, its highest reading since April 2011. The data was solid across the board. Export orders were up, as were hiring intentions and new orders.

That kind of factory activity should translate into real economic growth of more than 3 percent in the fourth quarter, though most economists feel it probably won’t. In fact, the consensus view is that the U.S. economy is slowing down and will sputter through the final three months of 2013. The average forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg is for U.S. gross domestic product growth to come in at 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter. That’s well below the 2.8 percent growth from last quarter, which could very well get revised above 3 percent when the Bureau of Economic Analysis issues its second estimate on Dec. 5.

Why the pessimism?

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Keywords: U.S. economy, U.S. manufacturing, supply chain management, U.S. GDP

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