ECONOMY STALLING – AT 8:46 A.M. ET: The latest economic report simply adds to worries that the American economy may be entering a double-dip recession:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.5 percent from April through June, as Americans cut back sharply on spending. The slowdown in growth adds to worries that the economy could be stalling three years after the recession ended.
The Commerce Department also said Friday that the economy grew a little better than previously thought in the January-March quarter. It raised its estimate to a 2 percent rate, up from 1.9 percent.
Growth at or below 2 percent isn't enough to lower the unemployment rate, which was 8.2 percent last month. And most economists don't expect growth to pick up much in the second half of the year. Europe's financial crisis and a looming budget crisis in the U.S. are expected to slow business investment further.
Stock futures rose slightly after the report was released. Some economists had thought the estimate would be lower.
Still, the lackluster economy is raising pressure on President Barack Obama in his re-election fight with Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
But few think the Fed, the White House or Congress can or will do anything soon that might rejuvenate the economy quickly. Many lawmakers, for example, refuse to increase federal spending in light of historically large budget deficits.
COMMENT: By any reasonable standard, this is bad news for Obama. And yet, he retains a substantial resilience in the polls, in part because his opponent has not yet made the case for himself. That is Romney's main job right now. We hope he will pursue it without committing the sort of gaffes he did in London yesterday.
July 27, 2012