A handful of factors threaten the strength of the U.S. economic recovery this year, leading many to wonder just how well the country's economy will fare in 2011.
The U.S. Commerce Department last week reported that U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed in 2011's first quarter to 1.8%, down from 3.1% at the end of 2010. High gasoline prices and rough winter weather combined to drag down GDP.
The news came a day after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke held the first-ever Fed press conference and said he expects the U.S. economy to grow at a rate of 3.1% to 3.3% this year (down from the 3.4% to 3.9% range previously projected).
"Coming in at 1.8, to get to where Fed's forecast is, you're going to need some robust growth in [quarters] two, three and four," Bob Andres, chief investment strategist and economist at Merion Wealth Partners told Reuters. "In my mind, the Fed's forecast and the Street's forecast are more than likely a little too optimistic going forward."