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Smith points out that the automotive industry—an historical indicator of the direction of the national economy—has shown signs that it's strengthening. "The average age of a car on the road is 11 to 12 years, and people are now looking to replace them," he says. "Gas prices have come down, and they are trending down. All of this translates to more people looking to buy cars."
According to experts, all of these positive signs are generating optimism that 2013 will continue to send the U.S. economy down the right path.