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Factory, Jobs Data Show U.S. Economy Mired in Weakness

Reuters (07/19/12) Lucia Mutikani

The U.S. economy continued to contract in the third quarter as factory output in the mid-Atlantic region fell to a 1.4% annual rate in the second quarter after a brisk 9.8% pace in the first three months of the year and new claims for unemployment benefits climbed last week. “The data confirm that the economy has cooled off pretty considerably late in the second quarter and early in the third quarter from the pace we saw earlier in the year,” said RBS economist Omair Sharif. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index for the mid-Atlantic region posted a reading of minus 12.9 in July, compared with minus 16.6 in June. A reading below zero indicates contraction in output in factories in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.