The U.S. is ending the year with good news on unemployment claims, retail sales, consumer optimism, the trade deficit and gross domestic product growth, but it is unclear whether the trend can sustain, according to The Economist. "The unexpectedly sunny last few months of 2011 may provide Americans with a glimpse of what its economy could be, in a stabler, better governed world," the magazine notes. "Sadly, it may be a while before the data are again this positive."

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