The U.S. economy barely grew at all in the first quarter of this year and only expanded at a rate of 1.3 percent in the spring, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
The combined growth in the U.S. for the first six months of this year was the worst reported since the recession ended. The U.S. government revised its numbers for the first quarter of the year, the January-March period, to show just 0.4 percent growth -- a sharp drop from a previous estimate of 1.9 percent.
American consumers pulled back in the first six months of this year on spending due to higher gas prices and flat wage increases. Stock futures fell after the GDP report was released Friday.
The slowdown revealed in the new numbers means that U.S. economy will likely grow at a slower pace that id did last year, and America's unemployment rate of 9.2 percent will likely not drop.
Economists had thought a Social Security payroll tax cut would provide enough incentive to slightly improve the nation's nagging high unemployment rate, that hasn't budged much since the recession ended. They think much of that money went to pay for higher gas prices.
Also, many companies are not hiring -- stockpiling cash instead amid economic uncertainty.