America’s anemic economy grew at an even slower pace during the second quarter of 2012, according to updated estimates released this week by the U.S. Commerce Department.

The nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) – which represents the market value of all goods and services produced within a country during a specific period – expanded by only 1.3 percent from April to June.  That’s less than the 1.7 percent growth rate previously reported.  It’s also less than the amended 2 percent growth rate from the first quarter of this year.

In fact it’s the second worst figure on record since the “recovery” officially began in 2009.

Worse still?  Economists believe that the sluggishness is ongoing … and are expecting a similarly low initial estimate for the third quarter of the year (which ends this month).  In order to facilitate the level of hiring growth needed to lower the nation’s chronically high unemployment rate, it’s estimated that GDP must expand by at least 3 percent.

Needless to say, that’s not going to happen in the third quarter.  In fact we’ll be lucky if the economy expands at a 2 percent clip from July through September.

This disappointing data – combined with a labor participation rate that’s at a 30-year low – is stoking fear of another recession.  Yet despite a weakening economy U.S. President Barack Obama appears to be picking up momentum on the 2012 campaign trail against his GOP rival, Mitt Romney.

For the latest on that race, click here.