The U.S. economy contracted early this year as harsh weather and a strong dollar sapped demand for American goods, underscoring the choppiness of an expansion that has struggled to lift off.
Gross domestic product, the broadest sum of goods and services produced across the economy, shrank at a 0.7% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday. The agency previously estimated output grew 0.2% from January through March.
The revision, near economists’ expectation of a 1% contraction, showed how the world’s largest economy remains vulnerable to shocks as it struggles to regain its vigor. The dip, expected to be short-lived, marked the third quarterly contraction since the economy emerged from recession in mid-2009.
Blaming the weather may seem lame—it is lame—but it’s not completely bogus. The other two quarterly contractions were also in first quarters (’11 and ’14—though the first quarters of ’12 and ’13 showed growth of over 2%).
But the trend over the last three quarters is in one direction: down. From over four percent, to barely two percent, to almost one percent contraction.
Which brings us to the so-called “Year of Action”:
In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama promised that 2014 would be a year of action. Twelve months later, that’s a promise kept.
What do we get for a year of inaction? I’d take that over our seventh Recovery Summer.