A lot of the weakness in US economic activity has been due to natural disasters. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the resulting loss of electric power caused a loss of production in tightly-linked production processes. Just-in-time manufacturing comes to a juddering halt if any part can't be produced -- and disruption from the earthquake itself followed by a collapse in electricity production meant that even unaffected plants couldn't continue manufacturing. This affected the US car plants of the Japanese car manufacturers too. There was also a major flood in the mid-west of the US, which also impacted production and sales.
Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. These days I'm retired, and I can't by law give you advice. While I do make mistakes, I try hard to do my analysis thoroughly, and to make sure my data are correct (old habits die hard!) Also, don't ask me why I called it "Volewica". It's too late, now.
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