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U.S. Economy Weathers Another Soft Patch

MarketWatch (03/22/15) Jeffry Bartash

The slowdown in the U.S. economy during the first quarter is being blamed, once again, on snowstorms and cold temperatures that put a damper on such things as consumer spending and construction. Last year, economic growth slipped 2.1% in the first quarter, marking the biggest decline since the end of the Great Recession.

It will remain uncertain for several months if the pattern will prove to be the same as last year, when the economy jumped 4.6% and 4.9%, respectively, in the second and third quarters. The labor market is responsible for most of the underlying strength in the economy, with an average of 275,000 jobs added per month last year, marking the strongest streak of job creation in 15 years. “There is little evidence that businesses have responded to weaker growth in the U.S. economy this quarter by cutting workers,” says Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics.