“We still have significant headwinds,” Sam Bullard, a senior economist at Wells Fargo & Co. in Charlotte, North Carolina, said before today’s release. “We’re looking at sluggish growth for the next two or three quarters, an employment market that remains challenged and businesses that see weak demand.”
DuPont Co. said Oct. 23 it will cut 1,500 jobs to save $450 million after posting a smaller-than-estimated third-quarter profit because of the deteriorating economic outlook. Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont, the most valuable U.S. chemical maker, has tumbled 14 percent since then.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ellen Kullman cited “uncertainty in the global economic outlook” and “softer demand in certain markets” in conference call with analysts. “It’s going to be a tough end of the year, but we see stabilization occurring in the first half of next year.”
The looming U.S. fiscal contraction known as the fiscal cliff poses another risk to the economic expansion.
President Barack Obama’s re-election this month set up a showdown over the federal budget with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. If Congress doesn’t act by the end of the year, $607 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases take effect starting in January.
“They’re getting the recovery, and most of the headwinds are outside of their control,” Joseph Carson, director of global economic research at New York-based AllianceBernstein LP, which has $419 billion in assets, said of Fed policy makers before release of the minutes. “They’ve given you every indication that it’s going to be pedal to the metal as far as they can see.”
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