The U.S. Is About to See How Deep the First-Quarter GDP Pothole Is

Posted On April 26, 2018 1:40 pm

The U.S. economy probably hit its usual first-quarter pothole, and we’re about to find out how deep it was this time.

Gross domestic product grew at a 2 percent annualized rate over the past three months, a step down after three straight quarters exceeding or near a 3 percent pace, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey ahead of Commerce Department figures due Friday. Consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, is projected to advance 1.1 percent, the least since mid-2013. Business investment likely cooled, too, from its recent torrid pace.

While the GDP gain may be the best for any first quarter since 2015, the softness is a reminder that the period remains plagued by data quirks the government is trying to remedy. The expected results also underline the difficulty of achieving President Donald Trump’s goal of 3 percent sustained growth, despite corporate and individual tax cuts that went into effect in January.

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