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Think tank thinks U.S. economy tanking

Aug. 14, 2007 at 5:04 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- The Center for American Progress research group said Tuesday it sees the weakening labor and housing markets pulling U.S. economy downward this month.

The left-of-center Washington think tank said in a news release the economy "faces large risks such as massive household debt, a comparatively high trade deficit and continued budget deficits."

The center points to low wage growth over the past six years -- 2.3 percent for hourly wages and 1.8 percent for weekly pay -- when inflation is factored in, as well as shrinking benefits such as company pensions, a drop from 50.3 percent in 2000 to 45 percent in 2005.

On the home front, the 4-year-old center noted family debt is on the rise as are mortgage foreclosures, while home equity is declining. The private organization said figures show job growth slowing, poverty climbing and government finances deteriorating.

The Center for American Progress, led by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, describes itself as being "dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all."

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