Is this the year the US economy finally takes off?
Despite a slow start in 2014, many economists say, “Yes.” Of course, they’ve said that before, in 2011, 2012, and 2013, but this time, they say, is different.
Consumers are spending, home prices are rising, and stock markets are soaring, while the federal tax hikes, spending cuts, and government shutdowns that weighed on the economy last year are in the past. Job growth, if unspectacular, has been solid.
“All signs point to this as finally the time the economy is about to accelerate,” said Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services. “The strength we started to see in the second half of last year, and we are seeing now, is for real.”
The latest sign came Friday, when the Labor Department reported that US employers boosted payrolls by 192,000 jobs in March, after adding 197,000 jobs in February. More people entered the labor force, and more found employment in March; the jobless rate held steady at 6.7 percent.