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Data suggest US economic growth is picking up

Maybe the US economy's strength this winter wasn't just weather-related after all. Home construction is near a 3-year high. And factory output has risen in 3 of the year's first 4 months. The data released Wednesday suggest growth in the April-June quarter is off to a good start, helped by falling gas prices and solid hiring gains. Fears of a spring slump are easing.

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How stimulating is the stimulus?

"It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future," Yogi Berra famously said. Economic forecasting is made even tougher at a time when all the world's industrialized economies are in recession at the same time, and for the first time since World War II.

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