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More Arrows Seen Pointing to a Recession

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PETER S. GOODMAN
NY Times
Friday, Aug 1, 2008

The American economy expanded more slowly than expected from April to June, the government reported Thursday, while numbers for the last three months of 2007 were revised downward to show a contraction — the first official slide backward since the last recession in 2001.

Economists construed the tepid growth in the second quarter, combined with a surge in claims for unemployment benefits, as a clear indication that the economy remains mired in the weeds of a downturn. Many said the data increased the likelihood that a recession began late last year.

The next major piece of data comes Friday, when the government is to release its monthly snapshot of the job market. Analysts expect the report to show a loss of 75,000 jobs, signifying the seventh straight month of declines.

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“We already knew the economy was weak, and now you have both a negative growth number coupled with job losses,” said Dean Baker, a director of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research. “There’s a lot of real bad times to come.”

President Bush zeroed in on the positive growth in the second quarter — a 1.9 percent annual rate of expansion, compared with an anticipated 2.3 percent rate. That follows growth of 0.9 percent in the first quarter. He claimed success for the $100 billion in tax rebates sent out by the government this year in a bid to spur spending, along with $52 billion in tax cuts for businesses.

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This article was posted: Friday, August 1, 2008 at 5:16 am





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