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Consumers are already seeing the fallout from turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa every time they fill their gas tanks. It's what they don't see that's the bigger worry for the U.S. economy. From the farm to the factory, businesses are facing higher costs to grow the nation's food, ship goods and manufacture products at a time when they're already cautious about hiring new employees or placing big orders. The added burden of sustained fuel price increases could slow the nation's already sluggish economic growth, analysts said. By some estimates, every penny increase at the pump sucks $1.5 billion from household spending nationwide. Volatile fuel prices have some businesses looking to make permanent adjustments to their operations.
2/24 LA Times