The U.S. economy has suffered a few missteps. Just how bad is it?

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A slowdown in hiring, soaring inflation and lackluster retail spending — what the heck is going on in the U.S. economy?

Just over a week ago optimism was running rampant. Coronavirus cases were falling, businesses were getting back to normal and a flood of government financial aid was coursing through the economy.

Then came a series of disappointing reports that suggested the economy is stumbling. The U.S. added a paltry 266,000 new jobs last month. Retail sales fell flat in April. And the rate of inflation shot up to 4.2% and hit the highest level in 13 years.

See: MarketWatch Economic Calendar

“We have a very different picture of the economy right now than a lot of people held a week ago,” said Jason Furman, a former economic adviser to President Obama, in a Bloomberg Radio interview.

Read: A jobs report whodunit: The prime suspects for weak hiring gains in April

But is the picture fundamentally all that different? Furman and most Wall…

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