Last week the Bureau of Economic Analysis released data that real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of only 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017. CNBC reported, US first-quarter growth weakest in three years, as consumer spending falters:
The U.S. economy grew at its weakest pace in three years in the first quarter as consumer spending barely increased and businesses invested less on inventories, in a potential setback to President Donald Trump’s promise to boost growth.
Gross domestic product increased at a 0.7 percent annual rate also as the government cut back on defense spending, the Commerce Department said on Friday. That was the weakest performance since the first quarter of 2014.
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The pedestrian first-quarter growth pace is, however, not a true picture of the economy’s health. The labor market is near full employment and consumer confidence is near multi-year highs, suggesting that the mostly weather-induced sharp slowdown in consumer spending is probably temporary.
“First quarter GDP tends to underperform because of difficulties with the calculation of data that the government has acknowledged and is working to rectify.”
Steve Benen has the April jobs report today. Job market improved as winter turned to spring:
After a sluggish month for the U.S. job market in March, many were eager to see whether the slide would continue, or whether we’d seen an improvement as winter turned to spring.
As is turns out, it now looks like the latter is true. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in April, more than double March’s total. The unemployment rate inched lower to 4.4%, the lowest since the summer of 2007, before the start of the Great Recession.