Alex Brill | House Ways and Means Committee, Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support
At present, the aggregate growth of the U.S. economy is at a near standstill. Growth in the fourth quarter of 2007 was a paltry 0.6 percent (all GDP growth figures are annualized rate) and indicators for the first quarter of 2008 suggest that growth remained very slow and was possibly negative. An excessive supply of residential housing, inflated home prices, and turmoil in the credit markets are at the center of the current economic weakness. Other sectors and industries could become ensnarled as well. The outlook for the economy for the remainder of 2008 is highly uncertain. Many economists expect an improvement in the second half of the year, though such a timely return back toward trend growth depends on a prompt recovery of credit markets and financial institutions.