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Unusually harsh winter slowed the U.S. economy, and the U.S. Commerce Department’s final estimate of first-quarter GDP was revised downward from an annualized contraction of 1 per cent to a 2.9-per-cent rate.
Unusually harsh winter slowed the U.S. economy, and the U.S. Commerce Department’s final estimate of first-quarter GDP was revised downward from an annualized contraction of 1 per cent to a 2.9-per-cent rate.
(Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

U.S. recovery will just have to wait a little longer

There’s no way around it: The U.S. first-quarter gross domestic product numbers were deplorable. But they’re already ancient history.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s final estimate of first-quarter GDP, released Wednesday morning, reported that the economy shrank at a 2.9-per-cent annualized rate in the quarter. Not only was that much worse than economists had anticipated (and a massive revision, even by Commerce’s notoriously revision-happy standards, from its previous estimate of a 1-per-cent decline), it was also the worst economic performance since the 2009 first quarter – when the Great Recession still had the global economy by the throat. That’s not a comparison anyone wants to see – least of all Canadians, whose own economic recovery is deeply dependent on an acceleration in U.S. demand for its exports.