Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Real GDP
Real GDP increased at an annualized rate of 3.2 percent in the first quarter, slightly less than the median expectation of 3.4 percent from the Bloomberg survey, and is now up 2.5 percent on a year-over-year basis. As was the case in the fourth quarter of 2009, the change in private inventories helped to boost the overall gain, accounting for roughly half of the overall gain in real GDP (adding 1.6 percentage points to growth) in the first quarter. Final sales, which exclude inventories from the calculation, rose 1.6 percent in the first quarter, edging down from 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. That said, final sales to domestic purchasers, a snapshot of demand in the United States (excluding inventories and net exports from the calculation), increased 2.2 percent, compared to 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter. Consumption surged in the first quarter, rising 3.6 percent, its strongest quarter since the first quarter of 2007, adding 2.6 percentage points (pp) to output growth and pushing its four-quarter growth rate up to 1.8 percent. Spending on durables jumped up 11.3 percent in the first quarter, compared to a 0.4 percent increase last quarter. Nondurables and services posted modest increases in the first quarter, rising 3.9 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. Nonresidential fixed investment rose 4.0 percent in the first quarter, despite investment in structures continuing to plummet, slipping down 14.0 percent. Residential investment, which likely suffered from a lull after the original expiration of the home-buyers tax credit in November, fell 10.9 percent in the first quarter following two consecutive gains. On a year-over-year basis, residential investment is still down 4.2 percent. Exports grew 5.8 percent in the first quarter, after surging 20.3 percent in the second half of 2009. Imports increased 8.9 percent in the first quarter, following gains of 21.3 percent and 15.8 percent in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.