There are signs the economy is improving. The once-battered housing market is recovering, which should lead to more construction jobs this year. Companies ordered more long-lasting manufactured goods in November, a sign they are investing more in equipment and software. And Americans spent more in November. Consumer spending drives nearly 70 percent of economic growth.
AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report. Follow Chris Rugaber at http://Twitter.com/ChrisRugaber