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NAM: Economists expect economy to accelerate in second quarter

The Wall Street Journal (4/11, Madigan, Subscription Publication) reports that according to economists it surveyed, the harsh winter that enveloped much of the country during the first quarter delayed a sharp acceleration of the national economy, which they now expect in the second quarter. Economists expect that the GDP will grow at a three percent annual rate in Q2, up from a 1.5% rate in Q1. The Q2 rate, according to the Journal’s survey, would likely have been around 2.5%, but that is likely to be boosted as businesses and consumers look to make up for time lost during the winter months.

Jobless Claims Hit Seven-Year Low. The Wall Street Journal(4/11, House, Subscription Publication) reports that first-time jobless claims fell 32,000 last week to 300,000, a level not seen since May 2007, according to data released Thursday by the Department of Labor. Economists had expected claims to come in at 320,000. The four-week moving average, which irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 4,750 to 316,250, the lowest level since September 2013. The Journal says the new data suggests that the labor market is bouncing back from its winter doldrums.

Mortgage Rates Down Last Week. The AP (4/11) reports that the average rates on fixed mortgages fell moderately this week, according to data released Thursday by Freddie Mac. The average rate on a 30-year fixed loan fell to 4.34 percent from 4.41 percent the prior week, while the rate on a 15-year loan declined to 3.38 percent from 3.47 percent.

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