A YEAR into America’s recovery the view backwards continues to sharpen—and darken. The Commerce Department’s latest GDP figures show an economy that lost momentum in the second quarter of 2010. But they also include revisions to data going back to the beginning of 2007, covering the whole of the recession. And the recession was worse than previously believed.
The second-quarter figures themselves are pretty lacklustre. Growth slowed to a 2.4% annual pace, down from a rate of 3.7% in the first quarter and below expectations. Exports and consumer spending, the two best engines of a self-sustaining recovery, contributed less to growth than in the first three months of the year. In the 12 months since the unofficial nadir of the recession the economy grew just 3.2%. During the equivalent period after the recession of 1981-82, output leapt upwards by 5.6% states the Economist.