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White House surprisingly upbeat about economy

July 27, 2012: 3:44 PM ET

The U.S. recovery has hit a speed bump this year, slowing significantly in the first half of 2012.

But that didn't seem to get the White House down. The Obama administration released surprisingly upbeat economic forecasts Friday, when it revised the President's budget to include recent data.

The White House expects the economy will grow 2.6% this year. While that is lower than its original forecast for 3% growth, it's still unbelievably strong considering the latest GDP data.

Earlier Friday, the Commerce Department reported the U.S. economy grew at a 1.5% rate in the second quarter, down from 2% in the first quarter.

So to get to the president's goal of 2.6% growth for the year, the economy would have to grow at a 3% pace or faster for the remainder of the year.

That's hardly likely given tepid hiring, slowdowns in Europe and China and uncertainty about tax policy heading into 2013.

That said, the White House points out that these forecasts are based on data collected in June, so they wouldn't have included today's GDP data.

The forecasts for the job market are a bit more realistic, predicting the unemployment rate will fall to 8% by the end of the year.  Considering it's currently at 8.2%, that goal seems well within reach.

In a White House blog post, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger said "the economy continues to move in the right direction," but pointed out that we still need stronger growth to replace all the jobs lost in the recession.

The White House also forecasts the economy will grow 2.6% in 2013, but that's assuming we don't go over the fiscal cliff and Congress passes Obama's budget. That's hardly a foregone conclusion.

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