When you boil it all down, they basically told us things are going to get better if they don’t get worse. Thanks, guys. That’s a big help.
But there is some good news in their report – the economy grew a little less than 2 percent in 2011 and they expect it to grow 2.4 percent in 2012 — unless upheavals in Europe knock things off track.
We’ll take the good news and run with it. Unemployment numbers have been slowly easing down, and the economists say the U.S. economy averaged adding 132,000 jobs per month in 2011. Well over a million for the year.
And based on what they’re seeing, they expect that to increase to 177,000 jobs per month in 2012.
As economists are wont to do, they’re hedging their bets by pairing those forecasts with cautions about what might happen in Europe or elsewhere. In a global economy, those are certainly issues of concern.
Economists are also saying the Federal Reserve’s current policies of near-zero percent lending rates should help keep things moving. It has also been heartening to see grass-roots efforts to encourage Americans to buy American-made products.
Consumer confidence is improved, as shown by reports of increased Christmas spending this year over last.
Any signs of economic growth are welcome, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that our friends across the Atlantic will be able to sort out their problems before they get to the breaking point. As a nation, we have a long way to go, and things are beginning to move a little bit faster.