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The major markets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic showed slow, steady growth in 2011, but the dual impacts of the upcoming election and uncertainty on Wall Street remain unknown, despite improving labor market fundamentals. Although the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.3%, the economy added 227,000 positions to US payrolls in February, making it the third consecutive month in which more than 200,000 jobs have been added—a sign of growing health for the economy.

“There's an underlying strength here,” says Kenneth McCarthy, senior economist and senior managing director of research at Cushman & Wakefield. “Even as we were getting all this negative news last year, layoffs started to decline. Employment growth actually started to pick up a little bit after September. Corporate profits are still very healthy, so businesses have a lot of cash. They have the ability to hire, and it looks like there's enough demand growth in their businesses. That's a very positive sign in an uncertain environment.”

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