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NYT: Uncertainty Over Economy Clouds Obama Speech

Author: Michael D. Rich
January 24, 2011

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In the wake of measured economic progress, President Obama and economists alike are careful to temper their optimism with low expectations, writes Mokoto Rich in the New York Times.

A year ago, the economy looked as if it were speeding down the runway, only to stall out in the spring.

Now tentative signs of a pickup are emerging across the country again. Factory production, retail sales and existing-home sales are rising, while unemployment claims are trending down. Companies like General Motors and Macy's have recently announced hiring plans, and bank lending to businesses is starting to expand. Investor sentiment is strengthening, as major stock market indexes climb to their highest levels since mid-2008.

This time, though, economists and business leaders are more measured in their optimism about the recovery. Growth is real, they say, though they remain unconvinced it will accelerate all that much.

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