WASHINGTON -- The government is ready to release the latest report on U.S. economic growth, and analysts believe the figures for the second quarter will pain a grim picture of business prospects.
A survey of economists by data firm FactSet offers a consensus forecast that growth in the period from April through June slowed to an annual rate of 1.5 percent. And most economists don't think business growth will strengthen very much in the second half of the year.
The Commerce Department on Friday will issue its first of three estimates of how much the economy expanded last quarter. A quarterly growth rate of 1.5 percent would be the weakest in a year. Figures show the economy grew a meager 1.9 percent in the first three months of 2012.
Many factors come into play. Among them are generally weaker hiring by employers, consumers nervous about their finances, sluggish manufacturing and worries about the European debt crisis. All this points toward everyone's big fear: another recession.