U.S. economy grew at a slow pace in spring, expanding at just 1.2 percent pace in second quarter

From The Washington Post:

The U.S. economy grew at a sluggish 1.2 percent pace in the second quarter, according to government data released Friday morning, as businesses cut back on investments and dashed hopes for what economists had expected to be a major bounce back.

The latest data shows an economy pulled in two directions, powered by fast-spending consumers but held back by anxious companies responding to a strong dollar and turmoil overseas.

Tepid growth between the months of April and June was particularly unsettling because it extended a period in which the economy appears to be gradually shifting into a lower speed. For three consecutive quarters, the gross domestic product growth — the broadest measure of output — hasn’t topped 1 to 1.2 percent. The nation hasn’t seen such a meager stretch since 2009.

Though some economists said Friday that the United States is due for a pickup in the second half of the year, the recent weakness could dampen sentiment about the country’s course and push Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to take a more critical tone about the economy under President Obama. Where Clinton has applauded the nation’s recovery, adding that the United States needs to build a system that “works for everyone, not just those at the top,” the Republican nominee has said the economy is “terrible” and in danger of “massive recession.”

The new data, released by the Commerce Department, also provides a note of caution for the Federal Reserve, which is debating whether to raise interest rates in the latter part of the year.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected that the United States’ GDP grew at a 2.5 percent annualized pace in the second quarter. The figure fell well below that mark in large part because of slowdowns across the business world: Companies were slower …

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