Federal Reserve forecasts higher growth

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Federal Reserve officials have boosted their economic growth forecast for 2011, based on higher than expected fourth-quarter consumer spending, the New York Times reported. They expect the nation’s output of goods and services to climb as much as 3.9 percent this year, up from their November forecast of 3.0 percent to 3.6 percent growth. But the increased consumer spending during the fourth quarter was partly due to excess demand for big-ticket items like cars following the economic downturn and might not continue, the article reported.

— Hallie Busta

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