Spring’s thaw is reviving the economy, too.
As reported by The Associated Press, a recent batch of government and business reports show a U.S. economy emerging from winter’s deep freeze.
Economists had expected the growth to accelerate in 2014 after two years of slow and steady improvement. But an unusually bitter winter sent factories, hiring and consumer spending into hibernation.
Now, as temperatures rise, the economy is regaining momentum. Factories are busier. Consumers are spending more. Banks are making more loans to businesses. Companies have bigger plans to invest in plants and equipment. And the improvement appears to be widespread across the country.
“The weather really played havoc. There were ice storms in Georgia. That is not something you see every day,” said Michael Dolega, senior economist at TD Economics. “Now, as Americans have dug themselves out and everything has melted, you’re going to get a bounce back.”
An index based on several leading economic indicators— including employment, consumer confidence, stocks and interest rates — shot up for the third straight month in March, the Conference Board, a business research association, said on Monday. The index’s 0.8% gain to 100.9 “suggests accelerated growth for the remainder of the spring and the summer,” said Ken Goldstein, a Conference Board economist.
Many economists expect the economy to grow at an annual rate of 3% or more from April through June, up from an estimated 1.3% the first three months of the year. The positive economic news has sparked a rally on Wall Street the past week. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is up 0.9% for the year and is near its record close of 1,890 set April 2.
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