The U.S. Slowdown Will Last Until Next Year

Manufacturing executives and economists alike are pretty much agreed that the U.S. is now in an economic slowdown. Certainly GDP growth on the scale of the first quarter's annual rate of 5.6% won't be seen for a very long time.

Indeed, Global Insight, a Waltham, Mass.-based economic forecasting firm doesn't see GDP growth getting back to a 3% annual rate until the third quarter of 2007. Merrill Lynch & Co., New York, is even more cautious, putting off the return of 3% growth until the fourth quarter of next year.

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