The U.S. economy will grow faster in 2012 — if it isn’t knocked off track by upheavals in Europe — and even then won’t push the unemployment rate down much, according to an Associated Press survey of leading economists.
The three dozen private, corporate and academic economists said unemployment will barely decline — from the current 8.6 percent to 8.4 percent by the time President Obama runs for re-election in November.
Still, the year is ending on an upswing, the economists said, with expectations of 2.4 percent growth next year, versus a rate of less than 2 percent in 2011. And the economy has generated at least 100,000 new jobs for five months in a row — the longest such streak since 2006, and the number of people applying for unemployment benefits has dropped to the lowest level since April 2008.
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