Fed survey finds US growth, hiring mostly steady

Associated Press SHARE

Fed policy makers slightly upgraded their forecasts in April. They projected growth at about 2.7 percent this year, up from 2.5 percent in January.

They also estimated in April that the unemployment rate, now at a three-year low of 8.2 percent, will be between 7.8 percent and 8 percent at year's end. Three months earlier, they had predicted that the rate would be as high as 8.5 percent at the end of 2012.

Wall Street economists, however, have since moved in the other direction. Many now expect the economy to expand about 2 percent this year, down from earlier estimates of 2.5 percent.

In addition to the slowdown in hiring in May and April, reports last week showed that manufacturing activity grew more slowly last month, consumer confidence fell and a gauge of future home sales declined.

And the government said the economy expanded at a tepid 1.9 percent annual rate in the first three months of 2012. That was down from 3 percent in the fourth quarter.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.