U.S. economic growth will be much weaker this year and in 2011 than previously thought and that dims hopes for bringing down a very high unemployment rate anytime soon, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.
In a sober assessment of the U.S. outlook, the IMF pulled down its estimate for 2010 growth to 2.6 percent from the 3.3 percent it published in July and said gross domestic product or GDP will expand 2.3 percent in 2011 instead of 2.9 percent.
"The most likely prospect for the U.S. economy is for a continued but slow recovery, with growth far weaker than in previous recoveries, considering the depth of the recession," the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook published ahead of weekend semi-annual meetings of it and the World Bank.
The IMF said the main reason the U.S. recovery is so weak is that consumer spending is sluggish and suggests it is little wonder that is the case. Falling home prices have reduced household wealth, 9.6 percent of the workforce is unemployed, banks won't lend and people are scared into saving.