Slower U.S. Growth Likely

By John S. McClenahen The U.S. economy is definitely not on the verge of tanking. But the relatively fast growth days of this year's first calendar quarter -- real GDP advanced at a 4.4% annual rate -- now seem even more unlikely to be repeated during the current quarter or in the third and fourth quarters. One indicator: Commerce Department data show that personal consumption expenditures increased only 0.3% in April, the slowest rate so far this year and less than half the 0.7% recorded in December 2003. That statistic is of more than passing interest because consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of U.S. GDP. Don't be surprised in GDP growth dips below a 4% annual rate in the third quarter and is at a 3.5% rate -- or less -- in the fourth quarter.

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