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Slower second quarter growth predicted after jobs report

April 5th, 2013

The Conference BoardThe labor market had some reasonable momentum over the past several months, but with just 88,000 job gains in March, once again we see a disappointing seasonal slowdown unfold as we head into spring, says Kathy Bostjancic, the director of Macroeconomic Analysis with the Conference Board.

“What is even more troubling about the most recent slowdown is that it takes place even before the sequester cuts materially hit the economy. This reinforces our view that the estimated 3.5 percent real GDP growth in Q1 is not likely to be sustained,” she writes in a statement today.

Downshifting economy

“Instead, we see the overall economy, led by the consumer, downshifting significantly in the second quarter, struggling to get close to 1 percent real growth. The sticky point throughout the nearly four years since the official end of the recession has been revving up in the “core” service sector (which excludes health and education).

“While jobs were finally beginning to open up there, the impact of the sequester likely blunts that job growth a bit and leads to further contraction in government sector jobs, and will likely continue to keep growth on the slow boil throughout the spring and into the summer.”

In our discussions with economists and others who have expertise in reading the economy here at the TechJournal, we hear again and again that the real drag on the recovery is political uncertainty stemming from Washington gridlock.


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