Make us your home page
Instagram

Economy stuck on tepid

WASHINGTON — The economy's spring slump appears to be extending into the summer, according to data released Thursday.

Layoffs are rising and economic growth is projected to pick up this fall, but not enough to give businesses confidence to hire and speed the recovery.

Economists are forecasting a third straight month of feeble hiring in July, based on the latest round of data. Expectations are the economy added 50,000 to 100,000 net new jobs this month. That's not enough to keep up with population growth and far below what is needed to lower the unemployment rate, which was 9.2 percent last month.

"We're going to see improvement, but right now nothing's improved yet," said Joshua Dennerlein, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Applications for unemployment benefits rose last week by to a seasonally adjusted 418,000, the Labor Department said. They have now topped 400,000 for 15 straight weeks. Applications had fallen in February to 375,000, a level that signals healthy job growth.

The Conference Board projected modest growth for the economy in the coming months based on its latest reading of its leading economic indicators. The private research group offered a caveat: U.S. lawmakers must agree to raise the government's borrowing limit and avoid a catastrophic default on the debt.

The federal government has reached its borrowing limit of $14.3 trillion, and the Obama administration says the government won't be able to pay all its bills if the cap isn't raised by Aug. 2.

Congressional Republicans have demanded steep spending cuts in return for raising the limit. The White House wants to raise some taxes as well, which House Republicans adamantly oppose. The impasse has lasted for weeks.

The economy expanded only 1.9 percent in the January-March quarter. Analysts forecast even weaker growth for the April-June period. The government gives its first reading for second-quarter growth next Friday.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has acknowledged that some troubles, such as depressed housing markets and tight credit, might be hard to shake.

Home sales in June fell for the third straight month and are lagging behind last year's sales, which were the fewest in 13 years. Declining home prices have made consumers feel less wealthy and forced some to cut back on discretionary purchases. Sales of appliances, electronics, furniture and sporting goods have dropped for three straight months.

Employers have responded by reining in hiring. They added only 18,000 net jobs in June, the second straight month of dismal job gains. That's far below the average of 215,000 net jobs per month the economy averaged from February through April.

Some companies are cutting their work forces. Layoffs rose to their highest level in nine months in May, according to a separate Labor Department report last week.

Economy stuck on tepid 07/21/11 [Last modified: Thursday, July 21, 2011 10:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump shuts down CEO advisory councils as main group acts to disband

    Business

    President Donald Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded on Wednesday following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them. Soon after, the president announced on Twitter that he would end his executive councils, "rather than …

    President Donald Trump meets with Merck's chief executive, Kenneth Frazier, second from left, and other leaders of the pharmaceutical industry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House last January. On Wednesday, Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.
[New York Times file photo]
  2. A long-awaited vision for Tampa's Westshore Marina District

    Real Estate

    TAMPA —Eleven years after plans to develop a waterfront tract on the Tampa side of the Gandy Bridge were first announced, a new rendering gives a hint of what Westshore Marina District ultimately will look like.

    Rendering of Marina Pointe, a condo project overlooking Tampa Bay as part of the Westshore Marina District. [Courtesy of Masterfile Corp.}
  3. Buddy Brew Coffee to open downtown Tampa location

    Business

    TAMPA — Buddy Brew Coffee plans to open a new location in downtown Tampa at Park Tower in early 2018. The specialty coffee craft roaster, which was founded in 2010, has five other locations throughout Tampa including the Oxford Exchange, Sarasota, Hyde Park Village and Terminal F inside the Tampa International …

    A cappuccino is displayed at Buddy Brew in Tampa in January 2017. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  4. Where to pig out for National Bacon Lovers Day

    Food & Dining

    That's right: Sunday is the national day devoted to all things bacon, National Bacon Lovers Day. Which, really, isn't too different from the other 364 days of the year. But here's a little roundup of some special places to celebrate everyone's favorite meat snack (seriously, even vegans have a grudging respect …

    A creme-filled doughnut topped with maple frosting and bacon at Dough on MacDill Avenue in Tampa.
  5. The Penny Hoarder tops 79 fastest growing Tampa Bay companies on Inc. 5000

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Penny Hoarder on Wednesday further cemented its reputation as one of the country's fastest growing companies. The personal finance web site business ranks 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing businesses.

    Vishal Mahtani (left), vice president of business development, Alexis Grant (center), executive editor, and Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, celebrate the news with their staff  Wednesday of making the new Inc. 5000 ranking of fastest growing companies in the country. They enjoyed champagne during a catered lunch at their office in downtown St. Petersburg after ranking 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the just released 2017 Inc. 5000. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times ]