The U.S. Commerce Department earlier this morning weighed in with a report showing a slight downward revision in first-quarter gross domestic product growth.
Specifically, after the government had initially estimated the first-quarter gain at a modest 2.5%, it examined a series of new or more complete data over the past month that showed the economy had expanded by a slightly slower 2.4% pace during the January-through-March period.
Both rates, the advance estimate issued a month ago, and the latest, or second, estimate released this morning, were dramatically better than the scant 0.4% estimate for the final quarter of 2012. The estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the advance estimate. A final revision on first-quarter GDP will be reported late next month, followed on the last week of July with the advance look at second-quarter GDP.
As to this latest report, the increase in GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, increased inventory accumulation, residential fixed investment, and nonresidential fixed investment. Higher motor vehicle production also boosted GDP. On the other hand, the nation's aggregate output, or GDP, was slowed by declines in spending by federal, state, and local governments, as a nationwide effort is being made to get bloated budgets under some control.
All in all, this was not a game changing report, and one that is unlikely to alter things going forward. As for the current three months ending on June 30th, our thinking continues to be that the nation's economic output or GDP, will gain a less-welcoming 1%-2%. The recent run of uneven economic releases, coupled with some possible destocking of inventories, may contribute to that presumed lesser showing.
At the time of this article's writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.