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Economists predict more consumer spending

In a survey, 49 economists said they expect consumer spending to rise about 2.3 percent this year.

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press/File 2013

In a survey, 49 economists said they expect consumer spending to rise about 2.3 percent this year.

WASHINGTON — Consumer spending is likely to pick up this year, while government spending declines at a faster rate, according to a survey of business economists.

The economists predict that the US economy will grow 2.4 percent this year and 3 percent next year. That’s unchanged from their forecast in February.

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But they are more bullish on consumer spending and housing than they were three months ago, in part because of a more positive view about unemployment.

The survey was released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics, which periodically surveys economists for banks, manufacturers, and universities.

The 49 economists, who were questioned between April 16 and 30, predicted that consumer spending will rise 2.3 percent this year, up from a forecast of 1.9 percent in February.

While consumers might spend more, the government sector is expected to shrink 2.3 percent this year — sharper than the 1 percent cut that the economists predicted in February, before a series of automatic­ federal spending cuts kicked in when Congress and the White House failed to reach a deal to avoid them.

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