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Gary D. Halbert
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Economy Ends 2016 Strongly, Liberals Gaining On Conservatives
January 10, 2017

When the Commerce Department reported on December 22 that 3Q Gross Domestic Product increased at an annual rate of 3.5%, many of us in the forecasting business wondered if that figure might be too optimistic. We also wondered whether the economy could sustain a 3+% growth rate in the 4Q.

While we won’t get our first official look at 4Q GDP until January 27 when the government will release its “advance” estimate, there are several signs and stats which suggest the economy did in fact end 2016 on a strong note, certainly in November and December. We’ll look at some of that data as we go along today.

As I wrote in my Blog last Thursday, the Consumer Confidence Index rose to the highest level in over a decade in December at 113.7 versus a revised 109.4 in November. Most analysts believe the surge in confidence is due to the election of Donald Trump, but I believe part of it is also that millions of Americans will be happy to see President Obama leave office on January 20.

Along with the various economic stats we’ll look at below, there is a new survey from Gallup which shows that the percentage of Americans who identify as conservatives remains well above the percentage who identify as liberals. However, Gallup notes that liberals have been gaining on conservatives since 1996. Whatever your political leaning, you’ll find this interesting.

So let’s get started.

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