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By Jeremy Glaser and Robert Johnson, CFA | 03-25-2015 11:00 AM

Johnson: Slow-and-Steady Economy Continues in 2015

Recent data looks a little soft, but a better housing market should buoy up the weaker areas of the economy and make for a steady, staid 2015, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.

Jeremy Glaser: For Morningstar, I'm Jeremy Glaser. Many people, including the Federal Reserve, are beginning to get worried that the U.S. economy is slowing down. I'm here with Bob Johnson--he is our director of economic analysis--to look at some of the numbers and see if that's really the case.

Bob, thanks for joining me.

Bob Johnson: It's great to be here today.

Glaser: Are these concerns, including from the Fed, well founded? Are there signs that the U.S. economy really is slowing from the growth levels that we've seen recently?

Johnson: I think everybody became overly optimistic on the economy. We had certainly a very good June quarter a year ago, and a lot people said maybe that was weather. Then, things really got strong in the September quarter, and we had close to 5% growth. Some people said, "Maybe this is the real deal." Everybody started thinking maybe we'd grow 3% or 3.5% in 2015 in terms of GDP.

Well, when the fourth quarter came along and the economy only grew about 2%--though, we have one more revision coming and I think it will be closer to 2.5%--but anyway, the economy still slowed by about 0.5% in the December quarter. And I think the way the data is setting up so far is that the March quarter of 2015 will also be in that 2% range.

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