Reaser and others said the good news was that the European debt crisis, which rattled financial markets, had eased and that business investment remained very strong.
Indeed, in the second quarter, the Commerce report showed, companies' investments rocketed 19.1% from the first quarter. That included a turnaround in outlays for buildings and a nearly 22% jump in spending for equipment and software.
But retail sales have softened and consumer attitudes have soured. On Friday, the University of Michigan reported that its index of consumer sentiment fell in July to its lowest level since last November.
But Ashworth said the latest report also offered some hopeful signs. He noted that a surge in U.S.
imports had a large negative effect on the overall GDP rate, which he sees as a
volatile component of the GDP calculations. Moreover, he and others said, although personal spending remains weak, many consumers are socking away more money.