The springtime doldrums appear to be back as the rate of growth of the U.S. economy slowed to 2.2 percent, down from 3 percent at the end of last year.
The American economy has been growing for two and a half years now and nearly reached a 4 percent growth rate in 2010. But as you already know, that doesn’t mean a recovery of jobs or relief for those Americans who have been suffering since the 2008 crisis.
Economists’ views on various aspects of the slowdown appear below. —ARK
The New York Times:
Many economists pointed out that consumer spending, mostly on cars and other large items, seemed to have come at a cost. Consumer savings declined. That suggests that spending growth could become unsustainable as households exhaust their reserves. But estimates of personal income tend to be revised upward, and past declines in the savings rate have been erased by later estimates.
Economists were also troubled by the decline in business investment. Businesses spent more on equipment and software but much less on infrastructure. Some of that decrease was expected because a tax break for capital investment expired at the end of the year.
By far the steepest decline in investment in the first quarter was in construction related to mining, oil and gas, while manufacturers actually increased their spending on factories and office buildings.