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Falling oil prices help boost optimism of business economists
Falling oil prices help boost optimism of business economists

Plunging oil prices helped boost optimism about first-quarter growth among economists at U.S. businesses, who had higher expectations for sales, hiring and wages than they did three months ago, according to survey results released Monday. About 66% of respondents in the quarterly survey by the National Assn. for Business Economics predicted that the economy would expand between 2.1% and 3% this year. That compared with 57% in October. "There are strong expectations for the first quarter, especially for jobs and wages, backed up by strong capital spending," said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities and the group's president. The sharp decline in oil...

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