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Wednesday, April 30, 2008
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: Economy grows by only 0.6 percent in first quarter

The country’s economic growth during January through March was the same as in the final three months of last year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday  but not the kind of statistic that economists define as a recession. Although the economy is stuck in a rut, it is still managing to keep growing  however slightly.

The NYT expands: Exports Help Economy to Modest Growth

The weak performance reflected the increasingly thrifty inclinations of American consumers in the face of plummeting real estate prices, tightening credit and a deteriorating job market. Economic growth was also hampered by a continued pullback in construction and business investment.

Still the number was slightly better than expected and helped to push the major market indexes higher on Wednesday.

[...]

But Mr. Bernstein and many other specialists still assume the economy will slide into negative territory during the middle of the year. Moreover, the recession or not question is now purely academic, Mr. Bernstein contended, given the spread of joblessness in recent months and the steady erosion of American spending power.

Of note:

Consumer spending grew at an anemic 1 percent annualized rate, down from 2.9 percent in 2007 and 3.1 percent the year before.

The actual report is here.

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