The slowing development of the real estate sector will hurt/harm the overall economical growth.
"Hurt" to me is often used with somebody or one's feelings. It has connotation of "pain. So I prefer "harm" to "hurt" in this case, what do you think?
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Both verbs can be used transitively suggesting damage caused to people or things. Referring to the economy, hurt appears to be more widely used. (see Ngram below).
To hurt: : (from TFD)
- To cause physical damage or pain to; injure.
- To cause physical damage to; harm: The frost hurt the orange crop.
- To be detrimental to; hinder or impair: The scandal hurt the candidate's chances for victory.
- to do or cause harm to; injure; damage; hurt: to harm one's reputation.
- to injure physically, morally, or mentally.
Ngram: harm the economy vs hurt the economy.