Consumers, fueled by job growth, cheaper gas and higher home values, would drive the U.S. economy through a global slump. That was the widespread hope just a few months ago. Now, doubts are growing that the United States can withstand economic pressures flowing from overseas.
Employers have slowed hiring and held down pay. Home sales have flattened. And the U.S. economy has been hobbled by a stronger dollar, which makes U.S. goods costlier overseas and is depressing corporate profits.
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