U.S.: The Jingle Of Cash Registers Rings In The New Year

Free-spending shoppers will keep the economy buoyant into early 1999

To the surprise of many analysts, the economy is ending 1998 much the same way as it began. Consumers are still on a spending spree, to the holiday joy of retailers. Manufacturers are still struggling with weak exports, but overall job markets remain strong. And despite economic growth of about 3.5% for the third straight year, inflation is still a no-show. All in all, the story of the 1998 economy has been one of resilience in the face of many potential pitfalls, at home and abroad.

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