Freight shipments declined 3.7 percent in July, signaling that the already sluggish economy is continuing to weaken. Freight expenditures dropped 2.1 percent in July. Unemployment remains high, the housing market is not recovering, and manufacturing is on a downhill trajectory. Recently both fourth quarter 2010 and first quarter 2011 GDP figures were reduced substantially, with the first quarter revised to a paltry 0.4-percent growth rate. That rate of growth will not sustain the economy - in fact, population grew faster than the economy in the first quarter. Second-quarter GDP figures have been downgraded as well, coming in at just 1.3 percent - well below expectations of 1.8 percent. At this point last year, GDP was growing at a rate of 3.8 percent. Every economic indicator that is widely tracked to measure the performance of the economy is still well below pre-recession levels, and the recovery has almost lost steam. Obama's stimulus programs and the Federal Reserve's money infusions have not been enough to jump start or maintain the recovery. The terms of the settlement in the narrowly-averted debt ceiling crisis will not allow for any new government intervention before the elections next year.
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