More signs of economic cooling: Q1 auto sales down, business hiring slows.

Earlier today, we wrote of the Washington Research Council analysis of state budget proposals, noting this conclusion of theirs.

…the Legislature should take care to write a budget that is sustainable in the years to come. Given the likely end of this remarkable period of economic expansion, spending and tax increases should be limited lest they prove to be unsustainable.

As we’ve written (here for example), business and academic economists and business executives anticipate a significant slowdown in growth, even a recession, in the next two years. To add to concern, two reports today suggest the slowdown is in process.

From the Associated Press:

Companies added the fewest jobs in 18 months in March, a private survey found, suggesting employers may have grown more cautious as signs of slower economic growth have emerged.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that businesses added 129,000 jobs last month, down from the previous month’s gain of 197,000…

Manufacturing and construction firms both cut jobs last month.

Small businesses added just 6,000 jobs, far below the hiring by large and medium-sized businesses.

And this:

Automobile sales in the U.S. fell 2 percent in the first quarter, another sign the nation’s economy is starting to slow.

Fiscal caution flags are waving.