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The outlook for the global economy in recent weeks has unexpectedly brightened, with the United States, Europe and China all outperforming expectations and avoiding — at least for now — some predicted stumbles.
American employers continue to hire at a steady clip while the latest European manufacturing gauges signal expansion and Chinese consumers are spending again.
Much of the improvement in the world’s three main economic engines, however, is more the result of disasters averted rather than any new boom.
In the United States, the Federal Reserve’s fastest interest rate increases in 40 years have yet to push the economy into recession, as employers such as Boeing and Chipotle plan to hire thousands of new workers. Energy shortages that some feared would strangle European factories have not materialized because of relatively mild winter weather. And Chinese leaders abruptly freed their economy from…