The U.S. economy will improve this year and remain at that level in 2011 as inflation ticks up and employment trends down, according to participants in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago automotive outlook symposium.

The consensus forecast sees real gross domestic product expanding 3.1% this year and predicts a similar increase for next year. Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, is seen rising 0.2 percentage points annually, to 1.7% this year and 1.9% in 2011.

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