The Economy Sneezes

Bad news out of the Commerce Department today, per WaPo’s Ylan Mui:

The U.S. economy stalled during the first three months of the year, according to government data released Wednesday morning, failing to meet even modest expectations for growth that could renew concerns over the sustainability of the recovery.

The nation’s gross domestic product expanded at a meager 0.1 percent annual rate in the first quarter — well below forecasts for 1.2 percent growth. The slowdown reflected weaker exports, a decline in business investment and cuts in state and local government spending, among other things. The recovery was primarily propped up by strong consumer spending.

The Commerce Department, which releases the data, emphasized that the numbers are preliminary. The government will revise the data twice more as additional information is collected.

Seems the weather could be largely to blame:

Economists had already trimmed their expectations for growth during the quarter in the face of this year’s brutally cold winter. Many believe the slowdown is only temporary and the economy will enjoy a bounceback through the spring.

This should make for an interesting Friday, when the April Jobs Report comes out.

Seems it was just yesterday–indeed it actually was–when I was noting that Americans were more negative about the trajectory of the economy than appeared to be justified by the numbers. Maybe I was fooled into relative complacency by the mild weather here on the central coast of California, and hadn’t realized the economy had sneezed.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.