Any year now we’ll be poised for takeoff.
The U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter of 2014, the latest stumble for a recovery that has struggled to find its footing since the recession ended almost five years ago.
Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, contracted at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.0% in the first three months of the year, the Commerce Department said Thursday. It was the first time economic output contracted since the first quarter of 2011, when it declined at a 1.3% pace.
Government economists had previously estimated GDP slowed to a 0.1% growth rate in the first quarter as harsh winter weather disrupted work sites, curtailed foot traffic at retail stores and snarled transportation networks across much of the U.S. The newly revised estimate incorporates additional economic data released in recent weeks. Higher-than-expected imports and slower-than-expected inventory growth dragged the economy into negative territory.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted Thursday’s report would revise GDP growth down to a 0.6% decline.
This is all so unexpected. If it becomes two straight quarters we’ll officially be in a recession. Good luck running on that, Democrats.
The three-month contraction isn’t expected to herald a prolonged downturn or new recession. Most economists predict the U.S. economy will bounce back in the second quarter, though it isn’t clear how strong of a rebound is in the works. Gauges of industrial production, retail sales and durable-goods orders all rose in February and March before weakening in April.
So expect more of the unexpected.