Growth slows across much of the US, Fed poll shows

AP, Washington

Fri, Jul 29, 2011 - Page 10

The economy worsened in much of the US earlier this summer, hampered by high unemployment, weak home sales and signs of a slowdown in manufacturing.

A survey by the US Federal Reserve, released on Wednesday, found that weak consumer spending, slow job growth and tight credit are restraining growth into the second half of the year.

Growth slowed in eight of the Fed’s 12 bank regions last month and early this month, the report found, compared with the spring. That marked the worst showing this year.

The Fed’s survey found that factory output weakened in some areas. That’s likely to heighten concerns that manufacturing, one of the economy’s few bright spots over the past two years, is sputtering.

Further such evidence came in a separate report on Wednesday from the US Department of Commerce, which found that businesses reduced orders for airplanes, autos, heavy machinery and other durables last month by 2.1 percent. It was the second drop in three months. A key category that tracks business investment plans dropped 0.4 percent.

The overall dim picture of the national economy echoes recent data on hiring and manufacturing. Economists expect growth for the April-June quarter, which will be reported today, would be only 1.7 percent, the second straight quarter of anemic expansion.