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DAVID GREENE, host:

We've taken a look at a new survey of top economists, and they concludes that this recession will probably end by the second half of this year. But according to that survey from the National Association of Business Economics, the job market will still remain weak. Here's more from NPR's Jim Zarroli.

JIM ZARROLI: Those surveyed believe the U.S. economy is showing signs of stabilizing. Chris Varvares is the association's president.

Mr. CHRIS VARVARES (President, National Association of Business Economics): There's good news in the survey. We do expect economic growth to turn positive and the pace of job losses is expected to narrow sharply over the remainder of this year with job gains returning in early 2010.

ZARROLI: But the survey suggests the economy will stay soft growing by a weak 1.2 percent during the second half of the year, and unemployment will continue to climb to 9.8 percent by the end of the year. Varvares says the rebound won't be as strong as it normally is after a deep recession.

Mr. VARVARES: We know that the credit crunch, the housing problems are working to hold us back. The fact that we're in a global recession and there's nobody out there to sort of be the number one engine of growth, are reasons why we would grow less than would be typical.

ZARROLI: One reason growth will remain soft is that businesses have cut back on spending and business profits are likely to fall 16 percent this year. And though a report released yesterday suggests that consumer confidence is rebounding, consumers remain generally cautious about spending.

Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.

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