6. Consumers are feeling better. Consumer confidence is at the highest level in four years, thanks to improvements in jobs, housing and the stock market. In the wake of the recession, Americans whittled down their debts, avoided borrowing and delayed purchases. That means the stage could be set for stronger consumer demand, which could nudge businesses that have put off hiring to add more workers. 'Business has likely pushed productivity growth as far as possible,' Principal Global's Mr. Baur says, suggesting employers will need to boost payrolls to meet stronger demand.[qh]
China has broken into the world's top 25 innovative economies for the first time, thanks to investments in education and research and development that have translated into new patents and licenses, a study said on Monday.