WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Congressional Budget Office says the U.S. economy will grow by just 1.5 percent this year - hurt by a poor first-quarter performance.<br />
This new assessment is considerably more pessimistic than the Obama administration's.<br />
Last month, the administration predicted that the economy would grow 2.6 percent this year.<br />
The CBO says the economy should grow by 3.4 percent over 2015 and 2016, and predicts that the unemployment rate will remain below 6 percent into the future.<br />
The economy unexpectedly contracted over the first quarter of the year, in part because of an unusually harsh winter.<br />
The CBO also projects that the government will run a deficit of $506 billion for the budget year ending Sept. 30.
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
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