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US Retakes Helm of Global Economy

US Retakes Helm of Global EconomyUS Retakes Helm of Global Economy

The US is back in the driver’s seat of the global economy after 15 years of watching China and emerging markets take the lead.

The world’s biggest economy will expand by 3.2 percent or more this year, its best performance since at least 2005, as an improving job market leads to stepped-up consumer spending, according to economists at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank AG and BNP Paribas SA. That outcome would be about what each foresees for the world economy as a whole and would be the first time since 1999 that America hasn’t lagged behind global growth, based on data from the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg said.

“The US is again the engine of global growth,” said Allen Sinai, chief executive officer of Decision Economics in New York. “The economy is looking stellar and is in its best shape since the 1990s.”

In the latest sign of America’s resurgence, the Labor Department reported on Jan. 9 that payrolls rose 252,000 in December as the unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent, its lowest level since June 2008. Job growth last month was highlighted by the biggest gain in construction employment in almost a year. Factories, health-care providers and business services also kept adding to their payrolls.

About 3 million more Americans found work in 2014, the most in 15 years and a sign companies are optimistic US demand will persist even as overseas markets struggle.

US government securities rose after the report as investors focused on a surprise drop in hourly wages last month. Ten-year Treasury yields declined seven basis points to 1.95 percent in New York on Jan. 9.

“We are still waiting to see the kind of strengthening of wage numbers we would expect to be consistent with what we are seeing elsewhere in terms of growth and the absolute jobs numbers,” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said in a Jan. 9 interview.

Financialtribune.com