The economy hit a bit of a soft spot this winter, but the slowdown is just temporary, according to a recent survey of business economists. (Tweet this)
The pace of growth in sales of product and services at America's largest companies slowed and fewer of them booked higher profits, according to the latest quarterly survey of business conditions by the National Association for Business Economics. That drove down the survey's index tracking the number of companies reporting rising versus falling sales.
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But the majority of respondents said they expect sales to begin rising again over the next three months.
"(The) results indicate a marked deceleration in growth across the board in the first quarter," said Jim Diffley, senior director at IHS Economics who oversaw the survey. "However, the panel did not pull back on bullish expectations for the upcoming quarter."
The pace of hiring was little changed in the first quarter, with about a third of companies saying they expect to boost payrolls. Fewer companies said they planned layoffs. Expectations for the coming quarter were unchanged.