Thursday, April 28, 2011

Incredible Shrinking GDP Growth Rate

From Zero Hedge:

[click to enlarge]

The Commerce Department is reporting this morning that gross domestic product in the United States grew at an annual rate of 1.8% during the first quarter of 2011. This is down from the 3.1% pace of the prior quarter--and less than the 3%-plus growth forecast by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke for all of 2011. More than half of the measured growth for Q1 came from the build-up of unsold inventories. Ex inventories, the rate would have come in at +0.8%, a ridiculously anemic figure given all the monetary stimulus thrown at the economy by the Federal Reserve during the past six months.

Bernanke suggested in a press conference yesterday that the economy would benefit from an improving labor market in the coming quarters. But the Labor Department has just reported that initial claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week to 429,000, the highest in three months. And earlier this week, Standard & Poor's released an update of the Case Shiller housing index, which tracks home prices in 20 metro markets. Prices in February were down 1.1% from the month before and 3.3% from the year before. In other words, the double dip is accelerating.

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