THE much-vaunted recovery began to show signs of slowing a few months ago. Even so, the revelation on June 1st that employment grew by just 69,000 in May, a 12-month low, suggested a more serious deceleration than anyone had imagined. The stockmarket plunged, giving up all its gains since January. Online punters slashed the odds that Barack Obama would be re-elected to a little over 50%.
As recently as February payroll growth was running at 250,000 a month. Many of the headwinds that had held back growth for so long were abating. State and local government lay-offs have eased, and housing, though deeply depressed, has been reviving: both sales and construction of new homes are rising, as are prices, by some measures.
Read more...The economy: Downdraught | The Economist