The numbers on 1st quarter GDP are, in a word, dismal. An economy that had been limping along came nearly to a standstill. As Jeanna Smialek of Bloomberg reports:

Gross domestic product grew at a 0.1 percent annualized rate from January through March, compared with a 2.6 percent gain in the prior quarter, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 1.2 percent increase.

Expect to hear a lot about how bad the weather was last winter. But it should be noted that “experts” who were, presumably, aware that it had been a bad winter, were predicting a better than 1 percents increase in GDP right up until the report came out, as the NYT informed its readers in a bulletin that announced the bad news.

The first-quarter pace also fell well short of the 1.2 percent rate of growth expected by Wall Street economists before the Commerce Department announcement Wednesday morning.

Neither the Times nor the experts saw this one coming. Meanwhile, the rubes don’t believe that the economy is in recovery; that it is ailed by more than the weather.

Perhaps it is time to listen to them.

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