Small Economic Growth Predicted for 2013

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Economists say growth and employment should increase in Mississippi next year, led by an improved housing market and an increase in home construction.

Forecasters discussed their outlook at a Tuesday conference held by the College Board in Jackson.

Mississippi's economy is predicted to grow 1.6 percent in 2013, compared to an expansion of only 0.5 percent this year.

Payroll employment in the state should grow 1 percent, compared to staying flat or barely shrinking in 2012. Mississippi will slightly lag the nation in both output and employment growth

The economists assume Congress and President Obama will at least temporarily avoid the year-end package of spending cuts and tax increases being called the "fiscal cliff."

If not, the nation and state could see a brief recession in 2013's first half.