Up, Up, Up: Final 1st Quarter GDP Growth Was 5.6%

..... But The Associated Press feels compelled to throw cold water on the news.


Wow -- This is from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announcement:

Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property
located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2006,
according to final estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

..... The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from
personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, equipment and software, and federal government

The original estimate in April was 4.8%, and the revision in May was to 5.3%. Reuters notes that Wall Street economists had predicted a final revision of 5.5%.

Here's the obligatory cold water thrown by the Associated Press in the 5th, 6th, and 7th paras of their first report on the GDP news (cold-water words in bold):

Fresher barometers, however, suggest the economy is shifting into a lower gear in the current quarter.

Economists predict that economic growth in the April-to-June quarter probably slowed to a pace of around 2.5 percent to 3 percent. High energy prices and a more moderate housing market will play roles in the expected slowdown in overall economic activity.

If that turns out to be the case, the economy will have registered a seesaw-like pattern of growth in the last few quarters.

The opening quarter's energetic performance followed a lethargic showing in the closing quarter of 2005 when the economy grew by a feeble 1.7 percent pace.

Here's how the past 12-quarter period of the Bush 43 economy compares to the previous four best seven-year prosperities:


As you can see, the 4.0% growth is not as good as what was achieved during the prosperous Reagan-Bush 41 years, and is slightly better than during the prosperous Clinton years.

UPDATE: A later AP report adds this jaw-dropping paragraph:

President Bush, coping with low job-approval ratings, hopes Goldman Sachs chief Henry Paulson — the man who has been confirmed to be the next treasury secretary — will breath(e) new life in (to) the administration's economic agenda.

Putting aside the noted grammar corrections, since when does an economic agenda that has led to current growth of over 5% and a three-year growth record of 4% need to have "new life" breathed into it?

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Economy Associated Press