Today the Wall Street Journal‘s Paul Vigna referred to the U.S. economy as the “Stall-Speed Economy” after the latest economic data was released this morning. Most striking: revised numbers show the U.S. economy grew at only a 1.3% annual rate in the April through June quarter, down from previously reported 1.7%.
These numbers are the slowest since the third quarter of 2011, attributed by some to a Midwest drought and weak consumer spending. In addition, durable goods orders went down 13.2% last month, the largest drop since January 2009; they had been expected to fall 5%.
While corporate profits did rise and the weekly jobless claims fell to a four-week moving average of 374,000 and 359,000 seasonally adjusted–the lowest level since July, a weakening manufacturing sector is driving the greater economic standstill:
Manufacturing, which has been the main driver of the recovery from the 2007-09 recession, has been hit by turbulence from sluggish domestic and global demand.
Fears that the U.S. Congress could fail to avert a “fiscal cliff” — the $500 billion or so in expiring tax cuts and government spending reductions set to take hold in 2013 — have also left businesses with little incentive to boost production.
Mitt Romney ought to be talking about nothing else. This is President Obama’s watch.