Although the Congressional Budget Office expects the economy to grow by 3% this year, sustained unemployment rates and sluggish manufacturing activity threaten to make the country's return to economic health a long, slow slog, agency Director Douglas Elmendorf said. "The considerable number of vacant houses and underused factories and offices will be a continuing drag on residential construction and business investment, and slow income growth as well as lost wealth will restrain consumer spending," Elmendorf said. The national unemployment rate may not return to 5% until 2014, he said.

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