Recent attention on Washington’s ineffective handling of our nation’s deficit, debt and budget overshadowed a strong finish to 2012 and a modest start to 2013. Expect 2013 GDP growth of 2.5% along with moderately improving economic conditions and modest improvement in unemployment rates. Stock markets continue to track upward, although fiscal uncertainty and “kick-the-can-down-the-road” legislation will make them volatile. European financial issues and Middle East turmoil will add to the volatility but will not throttle U.S. economy. After slowdown in 2012, accelerating Asian growth will support and possibly accelerate U.S. growth. Domestic shale oil and gas markets will continue to create jobs and are already having a wide range of impacts, the most of important of which is a resurgence of a U.S. manufacturing and refining competitive advantage.