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U.S. economy struggles to emerge from deep freeze. As 2014 began, the foundation was in place for better economic growth as the drags on the U.S. economy in 2013 were poised to reverse. But Mother Nature had other ideas, and severe winter weather caused significant disruptions to the U.S. economy. However, signs have emerged in recent weeks that the economy has made some progress underneath all that snow and ice. Underlying fundamentals in the labor market suggest that the job market may be thawing, and businesses are beginning to invest more in future growth through capital spending.