The U.S. economy expanded at a slightly faster pace in the first quarter than previously estimated, reflecting less damage from trade and inventories.
Gross domestic product rose at a 0.8 percent annualized rate in the three months ended in March, the smallest gain in a year, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. That compares with the 0.5 percent advance the government reported last month.
.8 percent! We’re off to the races!
I’m just kidding, but still. Recession calls have been somewhat premature. Especially the ones from 2014 and 2015. In the post-crisis period, there’s been a seasonal weakness at the start of each year that economists have yet to fully explain. The annual overreaction is never not hilarious.
After Christmas, the high-frequency economic signals seem to fall off a cliff. Some say it’s post-holiday season retrenchment and others point to the weather that keeps people indoors and holding back from doing, buying, etc. This leads to the more emotional voices amid the din screaming that the Fed will have to cut rates anew or begin another round of QE. Then things pick up (just a bit) into spring, which induces the Greek chorus to shout “The Fed is Behind the Curve!”.
With the safe distance of time and a steady course of revisions, we ultimately realize that nothing was actually happening and that economic growth was sluggishly pawing its way along the new normal 2ish-percent range of the modern era. And then the year turns over and we start fresh with the snowstorms and recession calls.
Someday they’ll be right. We’ll only know way after the fact, though. Find a different way to manage money if this is the game you’re playing. It’s a loser’s game.