IMF downgrades outlook for US economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund is downgrading its forecast for the U.S. economy this year and says America should raise the minimum wage to help the poor and offer paid maternity leave to encourage more women to work.

In its annual checkup of the U.S. economy, the IMF predicts 2.2 percent growth this year, down from 2.4 percent in 2015, and lower than the 2.4 percent growth it forecast in April for this year.

Still, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, noting low unemployment and strong hiring over the past year, says “the U.S. economy is in good shape.” The American economy got off to a slow start this year. A strong dollar hurt exporters by making their goods costlier overseas. Energy companies have also slashed spending due to low oil prices.

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