Fleet Management

Economic Watch: GDP Growth Revised Downward for First Quarter

June 26, 2013

By Evan Lockridge

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The U.S. economy grew less in the first quarter of the year than previously estimated.

The Commerce Department reports the gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 1.8%, down from its second estimate of 2.4% and its first one of 2.5%. The latest figure is the final estimate that’s a measure of the nation’s output of goods and services.

All three figures are still an improvement from the 0.4% pace of annual expansion in the final quarter of last year.

Consumer spending, which drives about two-thirds of the U.S. economy, slipped in the final first-quarter estimate, growing at a 2.6% annual rate compared to the earlier estimate of a 3.4% hike. That compares to fourth quarter growth of 1.8%.

Some analysts believe the performance of consumer spending is still good, especially considering the expiration in January of a payroll tax cut, resulting in less take-home pay for American workers. Federal spending in the first quarter dropped at an annual rate of 8.7%, due to federal budget cutbacks, no doubt having an effect on the GDP.

The latest estimate also showed U.S. exports fell in the first quarter compared to showing an increase in the earlier estimates, while business spending barely increased. 

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