GDP Quarter 1

GDP Quarter 1

A lot of jostling in the components isn’t apparent in the headline which, at 2.2 percent annualized growth, hits Econoday’s second-estimate consensus for first quarter GDP. Nonresidential investment gets a 3.1 percentage point upgrade to a 9.2 percent annualized rate while investment on the residential side gets a 2 point downgrade to a minus 2.0 percent rate.

Inventories increased by $20.2 billion in the quarter, down from $33.1 billion in the first estimate, while net exports totaled minus $650.9 billion vs an initial $645.9 billion. The revisions trim the contribution from inventories to plus 0.13 from an initial plus 0.43 with net exports trimmed to plus 0.08 from plus 0.20.

Consumer spending was downgraded only by 1 tenth, rising at a 1.0 percent rate and reflecting a 3 tenths downward revision to service spending which is at plus 1.8 percent in the second estimate. Government purchases are also downgraded by 1 tenth to plus 1.1 percent.

The upgrade for nonresidential investment reflects greater gains for structures and intellectual property along with equipment which however is lagging the other components. The decline for residential investment underscores what has been and continues to be uneven results for building and home sales.

All in all, it was a strong quarter for business, with investment perhaps getting a boost from this year’s corporate tax cut, and a soft one for the consumer as spending sputtered and residential investment went into reverse. But the early outlook for the second quarter is positive with most forecasts calling for a return to the 3 percent area.