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Business economists are more pessimistic about their sales and profits in the first 3 months of the year than they were last fall, and a growing number predict that overall growth will also slow, a survey found

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WASHINGTON — Business economists are more pessimistic about their firms' future sales and profits than they were last fall, and more predict slower economic growth, a survey found.

At the same time, a majority of economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics say their firms plan to raise wages in the January-March quarter. That is the largest proportion that expects to raise pay since mid-2014.

Aside from the planned pay rise, the survey paints a mostly gloomy view of the economy at the start of 2016. Fewer than half the economists expect sales at their firms to rise in the first quarter, the smallest proportion since January 2015. And nearly 20 percent expect profits to fall, the most in more than a year.

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