US Q1 GDP holds steady at modest 0.6% growth

30 April 2008 14:29  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--US GDP grew at a modest 0.6% in the first quarter this year, indicating the nation’s economy was not in recession but was close to zero growth, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.


The first-quarter GDP growth rate was even with the 0.6% reported for the fourth quarter of last year.  That fourth quarter growth rate marked a sharp decline from the nearly 5% GDP gain seen in the third quarter.


The department said the first quarter's modest growth rate primarily reflected growth in personal consumption for services, still strong exports and government spending.


Those gains were partially offset by continuing declines in fixed residential investment - the troubled US housing market - and purchases of durable goods.


The positive contribution from exports in the first quarter reflected a 5.5% increase in US sales to foreign countries, a rate of growth that is down slightly from the 6.5% gain in export activity seen in the fourth quarter of 2007.


Real personal income expenditures inched up 1% in the first quarter, the department said, compared with a stronger gain of 2.3% in the fourth quarter last year.


Sales of durable goods fell off sharply in the first quarter, down 6.1% compared with the fourth quarter’s 2% gain, according to the department’s data.


While barely in positive territory, the first quarter’s growth rate of 0.6% indicates that the US economy did not slip into recession during the quarter, as had been widely speculated.


A recession is generally defined as two successive quarters of zero or negative growth.


By: Joe Kamalick
+1 713 525 2653

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