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Leading economists are saying that the “Great Recession” of the last three years may be coming to a close, and that business, hiring, and the economy should be better in the coming year.

Let’s look at some of the facts and economic predictions. Factories are cranking up production, anticipating greater spending by consumers and businesses in 2011. Tax stabilization will give people an incentive to buy cars, computers and electronic goods, and provide businesses with incentives to invest in equipment. And manufacturing activity has expanded activity every month over the past 1 1/2 years. The big difference now is that the growth is being driven by higher sales and more confident consumers.

The latest signal came from the Institute for Supply Management, which said that the manufacturing sector expanded for the 17th straight month in December 2010. The trade group of purchasing managers announced that its index of manufacturing business activity rose to 57 last month, a seven-month high.

San Diego came in 20th in ranking for the best places in the USA to find jobs for 2011, according to CareerBliss, a career website. The information is based on an analysis from 2010 which evaluated what cities had the highest number of job listings per metro area. San Diego had 149,513 open jobs listed in 2010. Most job openings were in technology, followed by sales, engineering, and marketing.

Auto sales rose in the USA last year (2010) for the first time since the recession began. For the year, car and truck sales came in at 11.6-million, which is up 11 percent from 2009.

PricewaterhouseCoopers reported a faster-than-anticipated recovery in the capital markets arena fueled both mergers and acquisitions this year, and believes deal making is pointed toward a resurgence in 2011.

A private survey found that retail sales were up 5.5 percent in the 50-day period leading up to Christmas, the best increase in four years.

San Diego is one of but four major markets to see one-year home value appreciation in October, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices. The 3 percent year-over gain was blunted by a 1.5 percent month-over-month decline. Adjusting for seasonal considerations, the October/Sept change improved to a fall of just 0.8 percent. (Nationally, home valued fared much worse.) The four markets were: San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

According to a report compiled by Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial, the Corky McMillin Center for Real Estate, and the National University System Institute for Public Research, it is anticipated that office, industrial, retail, apartment and capital markets in San Diego are expected to improve in 2011 throughout the year as it progresses.

A recent issue of The Kiplinger Letter says that “The economy will finally start to show more robust job growth... with GDP growth of about 3.5 percent in 2011.” Employers are expected to add about 2.5-million jobs in 2011, which is expected to lower the unemployment rate by year-end.

Perhaps not the most dynamic recovery in world history, but at least we’re on the right track in 2011.

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