US recovery pace cools to 2.2% in first quarter of 2012

27 April 2012 14:18  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US economic recovery slowed in the first quarter of this year, with GDP increasing at an annualised pace of 2.2%, down from the upwardly revised fourth-quarter 2011 rate of 3%, the Commerce Department said on Friday.

In its first estimate of the nation’s economic progress for the first three months of this year, the department said that GDP growth cooled because of declines in federal and state government spending, weaker commercial property development and an increase in imports.

Those negative influences were partly offset by an increase in consumer spending – what the department calls personal consumption expenditures (PCE) – a gain in export trade, and some improvement in the housing sector.

“The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected a deceleration in private inventory investment and a downturn in non-residential fixed investment that were partly offset by accelerations in PCE and exports,” the department said.

The slackening pace of US economic growth lends more fuel to worries that, as in 2010 and 2011, the recovery has hit a soft patch in the early part of the year.

The US recovery was stronger in its first full year, with GDP growth of 3% for full-year 2010. However, the pace of economic revival eased to an anaemic 1.7% for 2011.

The 2008–2009 US recession officially ended in June 2009.

GDP growth in the fourth quarter of last year had initially been estimated at 2.8%.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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