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Overview

The U.S. economy continues to strengthen with a pattern of sturdy job creation taking unemployment to 5%, down by more than half from its peak in the midst of the financial crisis and the great recession that followed. Projections are for average U.S. GDP growth of 2.4% in 2016-18, to be led by strong private consumption, higher real wages, a vibrant housing market, low energy costs and rising consumer confidence. The desire for an expansion in bank lending next year is high but not a certainty; and some of the strength in the domestic economy will continue to be offset by two opposing trends: the strong dollar, which will further dampen demand for U.S. exports, and low oil prices, which will curtail investment in the U.S. energy sector, specifically shale production.

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Overview

The downside risks to the U.S. economy from global and financial developments appear diminished over the past two months. The economy is performing well and the Federal Reserve rate setters appear ready to consider raising interest rates at their next meeting in December. Spare capacity in the jobs market has fallen since earlier in the year even if there has been a recent slowdown in the rate of job gains. This sentiment helped to push the dollar higher and lifted short-term Treasury yields, adding to gains following robust services data from the Institute of Supply Management.

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