After a long, slow convalescence from the Great Recession, the US economy has emerged this year as a major force for global growth for the first time in a decade, even as some of its top rivals struggle.
Despite the sudden loss of confidence on Wall Street last week, the US economy shows little sign of faltering and its solid footing helped nurture a quick recovery in stocks.
Economists point out that US growth took off in the spring quarter with a 4.5 percent rebound from a winter slump and is expected to continue at a healthy 3 percent clip in the second half of the year. That far surpasses the growth rates in Europe and even bests the sluggish growth of formerly robust emerging economies such as Brazil and Russia.
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Perhaps more important, the US jobs machine got back into action this year, churning out a string of job gains averaging well over 200,000 a month in what looks to be the best year for job growth since the 1990s.
About the only major factor holding back the economy is wage stagnation, but many economists are optimistic that the renewed momentum will prompt employers to start goosing paychecks to attract and keep increasingly scarce talent. Despite flat wages, workers are enjoying a hefty increase in purchasing power thanks to low inflation and plunging prices at the gas pump.