US Economy Grew at a Strong 3.1% Rate During the First Quarter

May 30, 2019 by Dan McCue

The U.S. economy grew at a strong 3.1% rate in the first three months of the year, the Commerce Department said Thursday, though much of the gain was due to temporary factors that have likely faded over time.

The nation’s gross domestic product is a measure of the economy’s total output of goods and services.

According to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, the GDP rose sharply in the first quarter of 2019 after a sluggish 2.2% increase in the final quarter of last year.

The new GDP estimate was down slightly from the Commerce Department’s initial 3.2% estimate.

For the current April-June quarter economists believe GDP growth will slow to less than 2% and for the year they see GDP rising a modest 2.3%.

Last year, the economy grew 2.9%, the best showing since a similar gain in 2015, but analysts believe much of that increase stemmed from the boost provided by the $1.5 trillion tax cut package passed in 2017, support they are forecasting will fade this year.

Some economists worry that the economy could falter even more if trade tensions between the United States and China are not resolved. On May 5, the United States raised tariffs from 10% to 25% on $250 billion in Chinese goods after trade talks broke down.

Also contributed to pessimism over current and future growth is that business have been stockpiling supplies to staff ahead of unpredictable moves by the administration on trade with other nations, including those comprising the European Union.

Economy

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