The U.S. economy is expected to grow at about the same rate in 2006 as it did in 2005, according to the Bond Market Association’s Economic Advisory Committee, a group comprised of Wall Street analysts. Slightly higher consumer spending, driven by employment and income gains, along with increased capital spending will fuel the expansion of next year’s economy, according to the report.

As for the municipal bond market, new issuance in 2006 will likely keep pace with the near-record volume seen in 2005, says Bloomberg municipal bond columnist Joe Mysak in an article entitled “Muni Agenda for 06 Features New Bonds, New Orleans.¬†Mysak believes that the refinancing of tobacco settlement bonds, along with the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast due to the hurricane destruction, will likely fuel new issuance.

Other recent 2006 economic outlook articles include:

Federal Reserve Plays Major Role in Fate of 2006 Market, U.S.A. Today, December 18, 2005

Sneak Peek: Markets and Investing (in 2006), Forbes, December 19, 2005

A sampling of state forecasts:

Looking Ahead: Nevada 2006Experts Forecast Nevada’s Economic Future, Nevada Business Journal, December 2005

BHI Forecasts Another Year of strong Growth in (Massachusetts) State Tax Revenues, Beacon Hill Institute press release, December 12, 2005

Revving Up: Georgia’s Economy, Atlanta Business Journal, December 19, 2005

(Montana) State Economic Forecast Good, Billings Gazette, December 20, 2005