Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Business

April 22, 2014

Spring lifts U.S. economy

Business activity accelerating after severe winter

(Continued)

Consumers account for about 70 percent of all economic activity, making them a key driver of overall growth.

The nearly 5-year recovery has been subdued, in part, because consumers have not experienced the wage growth to restore spending to pre-recession levels.

However, households have reduced debt since the Great Recession of 2007-2009, giving them a bit more leeway to spend. Banks have unloaded the bad loans that piled up in the financial crisis and are lending again to businesses. The percentage of companies that increased their spending on capital equipment the first three months of the year was the highest in more than two years, and plans to increase capital investment also rose sharply, according to a survey released Monday by the National Association of Business Economists.

A Federal Reserve survey released last week showed economic growth picking up across most of the United States over the past two months as the weather improved. Ten of the Fed's 12 regions reported an increase in economic activity, according to the Beige Book survey. Only the Cleveland and St. Louis districts reported slower growth.

The Fed has been scaling back its efforts to help the economy, deciding last month to reduce its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion. The $55 billion in purchases are meant to keep long-term interest rates low and to encourage borrowing and spending. Still, Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said the economy needs more help. The Fed has kept short-term rates near zero.

The Great Recession ended nearly five years ago. But unemployment remains high at 6.7 percent, and 3.7 million Americans have been out of work for six months or more.

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Poll

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
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