Economists see more reasons for optimism this year, but maintaining slow growth expectations

Economists are increasingly confident that some pillars of the economy will improve this year, but they still remain cautious in their expectations on the overall pace of economic growth.

The National Association for Business Economics said Monday that forecasters have raised their expectations for employment, new home construction and business spending this year. But they held on to their average prediction that the nation’s gross domestic product, or GDP, will grow at a rate of 2.4 percent. That’s a slight improvement from 2011, when economists believe the economy grew 1.6 percent. Final economic growth numbers for 2011 are due out Wednesday.

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