The New York Times reports,
WASHINGTON — The Commerce Department said Thursday that the United States economy grew at an annual pace of just 1.3 percent in the second quarter of the year, showing that the recovery came close to stalling in the spring.
The revision was down from the 1.7 percent rate the government reported in August. The economy grew at a 2 percent pace in the first quarter of the year and 3 percent at the end of 2011.
With just 40 days to go until the election, the weak growth figure was sure to take on a strong political valence. Mitt Romney has battered President Obama for failing to foster a robust recovery and has pinned the economy’s weak jobs growth on his policies. Mr. Obama has conceded that the recovery has been anemic, but has argued that his administration put the economy on the right track after the worst recession since the Great Depression.
Thursday’s report underscored that the recovery has proved insufficient to pull down the unemployment rate, which has been stuck between 8.1 percent and 8.3 percent all year.
While the word "unexpected" was unexpectedly missing from the article, it was noted that economists had not anticipated such a steep drop in durable goods orders.
A separate report Thursday showed the manufacturing sector, one of the brightest spots in the recovery, contracting as well. The Commerce Department said that durable goods orders, a key measure of manufacturing strength, plunged 13.2 percent in August, far more than economists had anticipated and the steepest drop since the worst of the recession in the winter of 2009.
Not to worry, though. This pathetically weak growth is not Obama's fault.
Much of the downward revision to the second-quarter figures was because of the effects of the nation’s worst drought in 50 years. Farm inventories dropped in the second quarter, after falling in the first as well.
More broadly, cuts to state and local government spending have held down growth, and private firms have hesitated to invest during the poor business climate, despite the attraction of low interest rates on loans.
Oddly enough the article did not add George W. Bush to the list factors causing such lackluster second quarter growth. You'd think a Times article would have included him, knowing that it would give a campaigning Obama support for his continued insistance that everything is all Bush's fault.