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Economy grows at slowest pace since recession

The economy likely grew in the first half of the year at the slowest pace since the recession ended, and the second half isn't looking much better.

Weak consumer spending, dismal hiring and cuts in government spending likely held back growth in the April-June quarter. The government's report on second-quarter growth is expected today.

Economists forecast the economy expanded at an annual rate of 1.7 percent, according to a FactSet survey. That follows a 1.9 percent growth rate in the first three months of the year. Those are the slowest back-to-back quarters since the economy began recovering from the recession two years ago.

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