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Economy Slowed Further In Second Quarter

The economy grew at a sluggish 1.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported this morning, down from a 2 percent pace in the first quarter.

This is the bureau's first estimate of GDP growth in the spring months. It will revise the figure twice in coming months. It's now 8:33 a.m. ET. We'll have more about the report shortly.

Update at 10 a.m. ET. The White House Points To String Of Positive Quarters:

"Today's report shows that the economy posted its twelfth straight quarter of positive growth," says Alan Krueger, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, in a blog post about the news. He adds that "while the economy continues to move in the right direction, additional growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the deep recession that began at the end of 2007."

Update at 9:05 a.m. ET. Republican Reaction:

Quick to jump on the news, the Republican National Committee tweets that The Wall Street Journal's headline — "U.S. Growth Slows In 2nd Quarter" — shows "#Obamanomics at work."

Update at 8:50 a.m. ET. Early Analyses:

-- "U.S. economic growth pulled back further during the second quarter of the year as consumer spending slowed--a reading that suggests domestic fiscal worries may becoming a more significant drag." (The Wall Street Journal)

-- "A softening job market prompted Americans to curb spending." (Bloomberg News)

-- Growth appears to be "slowing as expected ... [but] defying fears of a more pronounced slowdown." (Reuters)

-- "The United States economy grew by a tepid 1.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter, losing the momentum it had appeared to be gaining earlier this year." (The New York Times)

Update at 8:45 a.m. ET. How GDP Growth Has Varied In Recent Quarters.

GDP growth stalled in first-quarter 2011. Here's a look at the latest estimates for quarters starting with those three months (figures show growth as seasonally adjusted annual rates):

-- First-quarter 2011: 0.1 percent.

-- Second-quarter 2011: 2.5 percent.

-- Third-quarter 2011: 1.3 percent.

-- Fourth-quarter 2011: 4.1 percent.

-- First-quarter 2012: 2 percent.

-- Second-quarter 2012: 1.5 percent.

Update at 8:42 a.m. ET. Reasons For The Ups And Downs:

According to the bureau, there was growth in the second quarter because of increases in consumer spending, exports and business investment.

But the reasons growth slowed included "decelerations" in consumer spending and business investment. So, while those key sectors did grow in the quarter, they didn't grow as strongly as they had in the first quarter.

Update at 8:38 a.m. ET. First-Quarter Growth Estimate Increased Slightly:

The bureau's latest figure on first-quarter growth — showing an increase at a 2 percent annual rate — is a small change from its previous estimate of growth at a 1.9 percent pace for the first three months of the year.

Our original post — "Did Economy Slow Further In Second Quarter? We Find Out Today":

Expect to hear this morning that the U.S. economy slowed further in the second quarter, Bloomberg News says.

In advance of the 8:30 a.m. ET release from the Bureau of Economic Analysis of data on second-quarter gross domestic product growth, the news service says "a median forecast of 81 economists" shows they expect to hear there was growth at a 1.4 percent annual rate, down from a 1.9 percent pace in the first quarter.

That would also mean growth had cooled to the slowest pace since second-quarter 2011, when it grew at a 1.3 percent annual rate.

In the often hard-hearted world of Wall Street, a report showing slower growth is being viewed this morning as potentially good news. According to The Wall Street Journal, "U.S. stock futures traded essentially unchanged Friday as investors awaited data expected to confirm a further economic slowdown in the second quarter that bulls hope will spur more monetary stimulus."

We'll update this post with news from the report after it is released.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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