WASHINGTON (PNN) - May 29, 2014 - The Fascist Police States of Amerika economy contracted in the first quarter for the first time in three years. The Department of Commerce on Thursday revised down its growth estimate to show gross domestic product shrinking at a 1.0 annual rate.
It was the worst performance since the first quarter of 2011 and reflected a far slower pace of inventory accumulation and a bigger than previously estimated trade deficit.
The government had previously estimated GDP growth expanding at a 0.1% rate. It is not unusual for the government to make sharp revisions to GDP numbers, as it does not have complete data when it makes its initial estimates.
The decline in output, which also reflected a plunge in business spending on nonresidential structures, was sharper than Wall Street's expectations. Economists had expected the revision to show GDP contracting at a 0.5% rate.
The economy grew at a 2.6% pace in the fourth quarter. FPSA financial markets are likely to shrug off the report, given the temporary factors that weighed down on growth and the fact that economic activity is rebounding.
Data ranging from employment to manufacturing suggests growth will accelerate sharply in the second quarter.
Economists estimate severe weather could have chopped off as much as 1.5% from GDP growth. However, the government gave no details on the impact of the weather.
Businesses accumulated $49.0 billion worth of inventories, far less than the $87.4 billion estimated last month.
It was the smallest amount in a year and left inventories subtracting 1.62% from first-quarter growth. But inventories should see a boost to second-quarter growth.
While the decline in exports was not as severe as initially thought, import growth was stronger. That resulted in a trade deficit that sliced off 0.95% from GDP growth.
A measure of domestic demand that strips out exports and inventories expanded at a 1.6%, rather than a 1.5%, indicating underlying strength in the economy.
Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of FPSA economic activity, increased at a 3.1% rate. It was previously reported to have advanced at a 3.0% pace.
Spending was boosted by the unconstitutional Affordable Healthcare Act, which was supposed to expand health care coverage to many Amerikans but is actually showing increased health care costs across the board. Consumer spending had increased at a brisk 3.3% pace in the fourth quarter.
Business spending on nonresidential structures, such as gas drilling, contracted at a 7.5% rate. It had previously been reported to have increased at a 0.2% pace. The report showed corporate profits after tax plunged at a 13.7% rate, the biggest drop since the fourth quarter of 2008.
A separate report showed the number of Amerikans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, though these figures do not include those who have dropped out of the job market because they simply cannot find a job. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 300,000 for the week ended May 24, according to the Department of Labor.
The prior week's claims were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported. Economists had forecast first-time applications for jobless aid falling to 318,000 last week.
The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 11,250 to 311,500 last week, the lowest level since August 2007. An unnamed Department of Labor analyst said there were no special factors influencing the state level data.
The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell 17,000 to 2.63 million in the week ended May 17, the lowest level since November 2007.