Trouble looms for the U.S., European, and global economies, once thought to be making a slow but steady recovery. Though fourth quarter GDP figures released today showed U.S. GDP growth of 2.8%, the overall rate of growth was 1.7% for all of 2011–far slower than the 3.0% growth rate for 2010.
At the same time, ratings agencies continue to downgrade debt ratings for several European countries, with Belgium, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, and Slovenia suffering downgrades from Fitch today, according to Business Insider.
Though the year began on an optimistic note, economists have begun to warn that growth could slow throughout 2012. That, in turn, could have political repercussions across the globe–particularly in the U.S., where the weak economy is the top election issue for voters.