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May 24, 2010 9:06 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Economists more upbeat despite deficit woes

A survey of leading economic forecasters predicts the pace of U.S. growth will pick up in the year ahead as consumers and businesses accelerate spending.

The assessment being released today by The National Association for Business Economics is more bullish than the last survey in February. The panel of forecasters boosted its expectations for growth in 2010 to 3.2 percent real gross domestic product, up from 3.1 percent in its February outlook. It also pegged the 2011 growth rate at 3.2 percent.

Household spending, while still lagging the overall economy, is expected to grow significantly this year. The economists also expect higher operating rates and rising corporate profits will boost companies' spending on equipment and software, while retailers restock inventory. Unemployment is forecast to decline to 9.4 percent by year's end and 8.5 percent by the end of 2011.

The NABE's president says the economy is in "reasonably good shape," but she says forecasters are extremely concerned about the impact of large federal deficits in the future.

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