A new forecast warns that economic recovery in the world's top industrial nations remains fragile, and that the pace of growth is expected to slow.
That assessment comes in a report Wednesday from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The OECD analyzes economic data for 30 of the world's leading industrialized countries. It says many economies will expand more slowly in the coming months, because both consumers and businesses are still having difficulties getting loans.
It also says that while unemployment rates have declined in many of the world top industrial economies, many consumers are still struggling to find work, which is hurting demand for a variety of products.
OECD Chief Economist Pier Carlo Padoan urged industrial countries to start ending their stimulus programs, and to start raising interest rates, to help limit their rising debt levels. But he said countries also must act cautiously.
The OECD report predicts the U.S. economy will grow faster than the major European economies and Japan over the first half of this year. It forecasts the U.S. economy to grow at a 2.3 percent annual rate in the April through June period.
Some of the countries that have seen the strongest economic growth, such as China, India and Brazil, were not covered in the OECD report.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.