U.S. economy to outpace Europe

@CNNMoney March 29, 2012: 8:11 AM ET
Consumer confidence is helping to drive the U.S. economy, which is expected to outperform Europe and the G-7 in the first half, according to a forecast from the OECD.

Consumer confidence is helping to drive the U.S. economy, which is expected to outperform Europe and the G-7 in the first half, according to a forecast from the OECD.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. growth is expected to outpace the stagnant economies of European nations in the first half of 2012, according to an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report released Thursday.

Economic growth in the U.S. is expected to grow at a 2.9% annual rate in the first quarter and a 2.8% rate in the second, compared to an overall growth of 1.9% for the Group of Seven nations, the report said.

American growth stems from a resurgence in the stock market year-to-date, a rebound in consumer confidence and a strengthening job market, according to the report, which was unveiled in Paris.

The forecast for Europe is quite dismal. The three leaders of the euro zone -- France, Germany and Italy -- are expected to shrink at a collective 0.4% annual rate during the first quarter, followed by a tentative 0.9% rebound in the second.

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Germany is the strongest of the three, on an individual basis, with a flat forecast for the first quarter and growth rate of 1.5% expected for the second. Italy is expected to slump during both quarters.

Canada and Japan are expected to be more robust. Canada is projected to grow by a 2.5% annual rate in each quarter during the first half. Japan is forecast to grow at a 3.4% in the first quarter, in the strongest quarterly showing in the OECD report, followed by 1.4% growth in the second.

The OECD is an international organization that promotes policies with the intention of improving the worldwide economy. The G-7 is a collection of the world's seven leading economies. To top of page

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