The Wall Street Journal reports:
The long-anticipated acceleration in the U.S. economy has been put on hold once again.
Disappointing economic and corporate-earnings reports in recent weeks have dashed hopes that the U.S. was at last entering a phase of solid, self-sustaining growth. Instead, while economists expect a modest second-half pickup in growth, few are predicting the kind of substantial rebound needed to quickly bring down unemployment, raise wages and insulate the U.S. from economic threats abroad.
There also are signs that consumers--whose spending has helped prop up the economy for much of the past year--are beginning to tighten their belts. Retail sales grew a paltry 0.4% in June, Commerce Department figures showed, and would have been even worse if higher gasoline prices hadn't forced drivers to spend more at the pump.
"This year is proving to be more challenging than we had originally planned," Howard Levine, chairman and chief executive of discount retailer Family Dollar Stores Inc., told investors earlier this month.