U.S. Economy Appears to Be Picking Up, Experts Say

Lower gas prices and improvements in the housing and automobile sectors are helping, the New York Times reports.

The U.S. economy, while still embattled, is expected to improve in the second half of the year due to lower oil prices and better news from certain sectors like housing and automobiles, the New York Times reported on Friday.

“The pace of economic growth is picking up, but not to a rate that is very robust,” said Joel Prakken, the chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers.

Experts cited in the Times article said the third quarter's rate of growth was expected to be about 2.4 percent, as compared to an anemic 1.2 percent growth rate in the second quarter.

The latest jobless benefit numbers issued by the Labor Department on Thursday showed that new claims had dropped to 350,000 a week — the lowest in four years, the Times reported.

Gas prices are lower, housing sales have picked up and the automobile business is also showing signs of renewed life, with a 22 percent increase in sales in June.

“The surge in car sales is disproportionately important,” Ian Shepherdson, an economist and forecaster at High Frequency Economics, told the Times. “It means that you’re willing and able to take out a loan — and that’s quite a good sign.”


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