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Commerce Chief Remains Upbeat About Economy

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez says there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about America's economy -- including "very strong" consumer spending and corporate profits. On "Morning Call," the commerce chief explained why the economy's underlying fundamentals tell a broader story than the weak GDP report.

Gutierrez conceded the glum state of the housing market, but told CNBC's Liz Claman that "we were expecting" the decline. However, he said a series of indicators should keep Americans upbeat: He pointed to "very strong" consumer spending and a pickup in non-residential and business investment.

He noted that retails sales were strong at the end of the quarter -- which "bodes well for the second quarter." He said that real disposable income is up a "very strong" 4.5%, and corporate profits are rising. Last but not least, the commerce secretary declared that "the consensus is" that housing will pick up "in the middle of the year."