Economists cut growth forecasts for 2011 and 2012

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WASHINGTON (AP) ? Confronted with an economy that has decidedly underperformed this year, economists are scaling back their growth forecasts for 2011 and next year.

In their latest forecast, top economists with the National Association for Business Economics predict that the economy will grow 1.7 percent this year ? down from the group’s May prediction of 2.8 percent expansion.

For 2012, the group is forecasting growth of 2.3 percent, compared to a May forecast of 3.2 percent growth.

The new survey is in line with the outlook of other economists who have marked down growth prospects to reflect an economy that has struggled this year to deal with a spike in gasoline prices, production disruptions stemming from Japan’s earthquake, a flare-up of Europe’s debt problems and a prolonged debate over America’s debt ceiling.