Upturn in U.S. jobs, housing predicted by national study

The battered U.S. housing and job markets are improving as uncertainty about economic forecasts declines, according to a just-published study by dozens of key economists. Other research shows growing confidence could translate into more business investment and jobs.

Forty-five experts who analyze economic issues for major companies say a flurry of mostly upbeat economic reports means U.S. unemployment and job creation are getting better.

Members of the National Association for Business Economics say they expect the U.S. jobless rate to average 8.3 percent for this year, which is six-tenths of a percentage point better than their prediction just a few months ago.

Shawn DuBravac of the association said companies are encouraged by growing confidence in economic forecasts, and willing to bet on future economic growth.

U.S. companies have hundreds of billions of dollars in reserve that could be used to increase business investment and hiring, according to a recent study by University of Maryland economists including Jeff Werling.

Werling said companies were badly stung by the recession, however, and have been slow to consider new investments.

“From the perspective of the consumer and some corporations, the financial crisis dealt their balance sheets such a blow that they just can not get there yet,” he said. Werling’s research was conducted for a U.N. agency.

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