This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

US Growth Slowed To 2.2 Percent In First Quarter

CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Don't panic yet. The government reported Friday that the economy got off to a tepid start this year, but that doesn't foreshadow a repeat of the near-standstill that happened in 2011.

"The economy is firmly on a growth trajectory," said Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at California State University's Smith School of Business. "The first-quarter slowdown will be temporary."

Still, the January-March report was discouraging.

Economists had expected gross domestic product â¿¿ the broadest gauge of economic output â¿¿ to expand at a 2.5 percent annual rate for the first three months of the year. Instead, the Commerce Department said it was 2.2 percent, mainly because of government budget-cutting and a slowdown in business investment.

And some of the January-March growth, meager as it was, probably came at the expense of the current quarter. An unseasonably warm winter pulled car buyers into showrooms earlier than usual.

The same was true for housing construction. That's one reason it jumped at a 19 percent pace from January through March.

Economists doubt consumers can keep spending as freely as they did in the first three months of this year: an annual pace that was 2.9 percent faster than in the previous quarter and the fastest in more than a year. They probably can't afford to. Americans' after-tax income rose just 0.6 percent in the first three months compared with a year earlier. That was the puniest pay increase in two years.

People spent more in part because they socked away less. The savings rate fell to 3.9 percent of after-tax income. That was down from 4.5 percent. Economists worry that people won't keep spending more unless their income grows.

Stock prices rose Friday despite the report of weaker growth. David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff, said investors might have bid up stocks because they think the Federal Reserve is more likely to pursue another round of bond buying to stimulate the economy.

1 of 4

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG

Markets

Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,654.77 +369.26 2.27%
S&P 500 1,987.66 +47.15 2.43%
NASDAQ 4,812.7080 +115.1720 2.45%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs