Economy Hits 3.1 Percent Growth Rate in First Quarter

Revised numbers still show strong economy.

The U.S. economy grew at a 3.1 percent rate in the first quarter of 2019. That information is based on the latest recalculation to the gross domestic product (GDP) by the department of Commerce.

The rate of growth suggests a reasonably strong economy, but the final numbers coming in ended up revising earlier estimates downward on consumer spending. Although consumer spending still rose, it did so at a slower-than-expected rate.

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  • This view is in line with more recent macroeconomic data that suggests that, while the economy is still growing, the rate of growth is slowing down. Some economists have gone as far to predict a recession, but it will take more months of consecutive declines in data to strongly support that case.

    The first quarter of 2019 included the ongoing tariff issues with the U.S. and China, the partial government shutdown that led to a drop in government spending.

    The final numbers had some upward revisions as well, such as non-residential fixed income, exports, and state and local tax spending. Overall, the picture remains complicated, as there is as much favorable data to suggest continued growth as unfavorable data to suggest a decline. For the moment, investors should expect the economy to continue growing, albeit at a slightly slower pace.