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Economists optimistic after strong start to 2011

by Jorge Hernandez on January 4, 2011

A strong beginning to 2011 has financial experts hopeful that the coming year will be one of the most successful in the last several years. New data shows accelerating growth that could signal economic recovery in the United States, The Washington Post reports.

Financial markets got off to a fast start on Monday, with The Dow Jones industrial average rising .8 percent to hit a two-year high. The Nasdaq also rose 1.5 percent, and analysts released a report that shows the economy is gaining momentum. The most poignant evidence to the latter is that production and orders of manufactured goods both rose in December, and experts believe that this is the foundation required to get the economy back on its feet after a rough two years.

"A surge in orders and production that is driven by fundamentals rather than inventory rebuilding is a solid base to maintain a recovery," economist Dan Meckstroth told the news source.

While recent news has been positive for the U.S., the outlook appears sunny in Europe as well. French and German stock markets both rose on their first day back in the New Year, and manufacturing had a substantial gain as well.

Economists were also encouraged by the successful holiday shopping season as well. The period was the best since 2007, the year before the recession began, and according to the news source there has also been a steep drop off in the number of people filing for unemployment benefits as well.

Despite the optimistic numbers, there are still a large percentage of Americans who are feeling the strain of the last couple years. There has been a decrease in unemployment but, according to The New York Times, it is still hovering around 9.8 percent, and experts believe that around 2 million homes will be lost in the coming year.

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