Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal were predicting that we would learn, this morning, that Gross Domestic Product had grown by 3.2 percent in the last quarter. Sorry about that; the economy said as the number came in at 2.5 percent.
We were warned, yesterday, by Neil Irwin at the Washington Post, not to get too carried away when a number around 3% came in. For one thing, it would be somewhat distorted by one time events such as large dividend payments at the end of calendar '12 in anticipation of the new tax rates and, also, the end of the payroll tax cuts. Another case of Washington sending out contradictory signals and these things might cancel out but ... who knows? Anyway, best not to get carried away by a 3% number. A good way of keeping things in perspective, Irwin concluded, would be to:
Think of it all this way: If you average the 0.4 percent growth of the fourth quarter with the forecast 3 percent in the first, you get a 1.7 percent annual rate of growth over the last six months. That’s very much along the lines of our economic growth rate for the last four years, a grinding, gradual expansion that doesn’t make up the ground lost during the recession.
If Friday morning’s GDP report matches forecasts, it will mean that we’re just having more of the same, even if the initial headlines look a good deal rosier.
So ... things are a little worse than not so hot.
Meanwhile, Washington moves to make life tougher for on-line businesses and the businesses brace for the Obamacare train wreck.
Welcome to more of the same.