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Auto sales to keep slipping
The recovery in auto sales is sputtering, with forecasters expecting August sales to show a continuation of the uncertain trend seen since March.

Compared with last August, when the government's cash for clunkers program fueled a spike in demand, monthly sales are likely to be down sharply.

But some forecasters believe the selling pace may have slowed even since July, when the seasonally adjusted annualized rate of sales totaled 11.54 million cars and light trucks.

August sales estimates range from as high as 11.8 million light vehicles to fewer than 11 million.

Some forecasters are now trimming their annual forecasts amid growing expectations that the economy will recover very slowly.

Paul Taylor, an economist at the National Automobile Dealers Association, said the weak housing market is holding back the recovery in auto sales. Many people figure that if they were going to lose their jobs, they would have lost them by now, Taylor said. But homeowners aren't confident that the housing market is recovering. "We need it to be solidly flat or up," he said. "That's not happening."

Many indicators point to a slowdown in the recovery: Housing sales plunged 25.5 percent in July; capital goods orders, excluding weaponry and aircraft, fell last month; and stocks have been losing value.

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