WASHINGTON — After six years of a gloomy recession and shaky recovery, the U.S. economy looks poised to regain its glow next year with stronger job growth, bigger income gains for more people and a resurgence of homeowners moving up into new digs.
The overall economic outlook for the U.S. has improved sharply in recent weeks amid a string of surprisingly robust economic data: Businesses have stepped up hiring, new factory orders from abroad are at a two-year high, and consumers have been flocking to car lots and restaurants.
State and local governments that not long ago were in massive retrenchment are spending more too.
“We could see the unemployment rate down to 6 percent this time next year,” said Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
Some experts say economic growth could be even stronger next year now that the House of Representatives has approved the bipartisan two-year budget deal.
Many economists now see economic growth climbing to a solid 3 percent next year, a significant improvement from the 2 percent average annual pace that the economy has been stuck on for the past 41/2 years. An acceleration to 3 percent would probably push up U.S. job growth to 250,000 a month on average, from 190,000 in the past 12 months, Kleinhenz said.
At that pace, the nation would recover all the jobs lost in the recession by the end of 2014. And it would push down the jobless rate closer to the 5.5 percent to 6 percent range that some now see as the long-term unemployment rate.