A surprisingly good economic 2013 and more optimism for this year

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The Massachusetts economy shook off federal budget cuts, tax increases, and weakened trading partners to fare much better than expected in 2013, offering optimistic signs that the state is shedding the after-effects of the financial crisis, according to leading local economists.

The economists’ assessment noted that the outlook for economic growth looked glum a year ago as the automatic federal budget cuts went into effect, increased payroll taxes squeezed consumers, and Europe, the state’s biggest export market, was mired in recession.

By the end of 2013, however, consumer spending strengthened, exports rebounded, and job growth accelerated. In the last three months of the year, the Massachusetts economy expanded at an annual rate of 5.5 percent compared with 3.2 percent for the nation.

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