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Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta predicts best economic growth quarter in over a decade

The U.S. economy is forecast to experience robust growth in the first quarter of 2018. (Getty Images)

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, which regularly forecasts key economic indexes like GDP growth inflation, is predicting an astounding GDP growth rate of 5.4 percent for the first quarter of 2018. If that rate of growth occurs, it would represent the largest rate of growth for a quarter in at least a decade.

However, financial analysts note that the Atlanta Fed tracker has systematically overestimated GDP growth by an average of 0.8 percentage points since the first quarter of 2015, so there is reason to believe that actual growth may be slightly lower than the previous recent high of 5.2 percent growth, from the third quarter of 2014.

Even if the first quarter of 2018 does not reach 5.4 percent GDP growth, there is broad agreement among economists that the U.S. economy is in very robust shape. CNBC estimates that the chances of a recession occurring in the next 12 months is only 13.7 percent, the second lowest such figure since they began releasing their estimates in January 2015.

Additionally, jobless claims remain historically low and unemployment continues to hover at an extremely low 4.1 percent.

The Atlanta Fed also predicted that real consumer spending would grow by 4 percent in the first quarter of 2018, and that construction spending would also grow.

President Donald Trump touted the bullish economy repeatedly during his first State of the Union address, boasting that the stock market has experienced tremendous growth since his election, and that unemployment has fallen.

In response to the speech, Democrats, like Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) claimed that the economy was headed for a strong recovery when Trump took office and accused him of attempting to take credit for former President Barack Obama's accomplishments.

When asked why Democrats refused to clap when Trump pointed out that the American economy was doing well, Harris said, "Probably because we all know that the way that he should have made that statement is at the end of that statement, he should have said, 'Thank you, President Obama.'"


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