According to Bloomberg.com today, economists project the U.S. economy will expand at an average 3.5 percent annual pace from July through December of this year, after growing an estimated 3.9 percent in the first six months. The culprit for the slow-down is the price of oil, now rising to record levels. Bloomberg sums up its survey of economists, saying high-priced fuel will “siphon cash from consumers’ pockets that could otherwise be spent on other goods and services… and will prompt Federal Reserve policy makers to raise their interest-rate target more than previously thought.”
But don’t let visions of budgets slipping away perturb you. While the weekly index of consumer confidence in the state of the economy fell last week to the lowest since June (according to the Washington Post-ABC News Consumer Comfort survey), Bloomberg says, “The need for businesses to invest in new equipment will probably keep the economy growing at a 3.7 percent rate this quarter after expanding 4 percent from January through March.”
That seems to jibe with CIO magazine’s most recent Tech Poll Report, which shows IT budget growth expectations inched up for the second month in a row after dropping four consecutive months in the last quarter of 2004 and also in January.