The lack of action by Congress to avoid tax hikes and spending cuts in 2013 have businesses so worried that they’re holding back investments despite glimmers of hope that the labor market is healing. The slowdown prompted JPMorgan to lower its estimate for economic growth in the third quarter two-tenths of a point to a 1.6 percent annual rate. Manufacturing had been driving the recovery, but is now suffering from lower demand in the U.S. and abroad. Still, there are other indicators that things are slowly getting better.

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