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Slow Growth May Drag Into Fall

NEW YORK — A private research group forecast that the economy will grow slowly as summer turns into fall.

The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading economic indicators rose 0.3 percent in June. The index had rebounded 0.8 percent in May after dropping 0.3 percent in April. The April decline was the first since June 2010.

The economy expanded at a 1.9 percent pace from January through March. Most economists believe growth was similarly weak from April through the end of June. Economists blame temporary factors, including a supply chain disruption resulting from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and a spike in gas prices, for the sharply slower growth compared to the end of 2010.

The June rise in leading indicators suggests that the recent slowdown in growth won’t worsen into a recession over the next few months, even with high unemployment and a weak housing market.

Many economists expect a moderate pickup in the second half of the year.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has said he believes growth will recover over the next six months. A pullback in gas prices and relief from the supply chain problems should help the economy, he has said. But he has also said high joblessness and a weak housing market are hurdles to a full recovery.

The unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent in June.


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