Yikes. In the first quarter GDP didn’t grow by an anemic 0.1 percent. Nor did it shrink by 1 percent. According to the Commerce Department’s final tally, it shrunk by 2.9 percent.
Everyone is brushing this off because other economic signals suggest it was a one-off event. And maybe so. But even if it is, it probably knocks about 1 percent off the full-year figure compared to a more normal growth rate of, say, at least 2 percent. The only way it turns out to be a nothingburger is if this number really is an anomaly and the economy makes up for it with supercharged growth for the rest of the year.
I have my doubts about that. I just don’t buy the tired excuse that the Q1 number was weather related. Something happened.