WASHINGTON – A report today is expected to show the U.S. economy barely grew from April through June. But economists are hopeful that the weak second quarter is a temporary lull that gives way to stronger growth in the second half of the year.
Higher increases and steep government spending cuts probably did their worst damage to the economy in the second quarter. As their impact fades, solid job gains, more business spending and a steady recovery in housing should help accelerate growth.
Economists forecast that growth slowed in the April-June quarter to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of just 1 percent, according to a survey by FactSet. That’s below the sluggish pace of 1.8 percent in the January-March quarter.
The Commerce Department will release the first estimate of gross domestic product, or GDP, for the second quarter this morning. GDP is the broadest measure of the output of goods and services, including everything from manicures to industrial machinery.
Most economists say growth is already starting to pick up. And many are predicting annual growth rates of between 2 percent and 3 percent in the third and fourth quarters.