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Final estimate shows US economy slumped 2.9% in first quarter


Final estimate shows US economy slumped 2.9% in first quarter


It turns out the US economy was much weaker than had been thought in the first three months of this year.

The final reading from the Bureau of Economic Analysis in Washington shows that gross domestic product (GDP) was 2.9 percent lower than the same period last year.

That is way down on the earlier minus 1.0 percent estimate, and worse than the 1.7 percent decline that economists had predicted.

It was the US economy’s worst quarter in three years, but the contraction is mostly being blamed on extremely bad winter weather at the start of the year and is therefore seen only as a temporary setback.

The revision, according to the government statisticians, was largely due to a bigger that previously estimated decline in exports.

In addition there was a smaller than previously estimated increase in personal consumption.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, increased at a 1.0 percent rate. It was previously reported to have advanced at a 3.1 percent pace.

Sharp revisions to GDP numbers are not unusual as the government does not have complete data when it makes its initial and preliminary estimates.

Economists do expect a solid rebound in the quarter from April to June – hoping for growth perhaps as strong as a 3.5 to 4.0 percent annual rate.

They also think the economy will remain in high gear for the rest of this year and into next year.

Data such as employment, manufacturing and services sectors point to a sharp acceleration in growth early in the second quarter.

with Reuters

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