Summary Box: Economy off to strong start in 2012

AP News
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Posted: Jan 19, 2012 4:47 PM
Summary Box: Economy off to strong start in 2012

HIRING OUTLOOK BRIGHTENS: The economy is off to a fast start in 2012. The outlook for hiring has brightened as applications for unemployment benefits near a four-year low.

INFLATION TAME: Consumer prices were flat in December for the second straight month. That gives consumers more spending power and allows the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low.

OTHER GOOD SIGNS: Business travel is higher and banks are lending more to businesses. Economists are optimistic, though they caution that it is too early to say if the recovery is accelerating.