Q1 GDP Stuck at 1.2%

By Terence P. Jeffrey | May 26, 2017 | 10:54am EDT
OMB Director Mick Mulvaney in the Senate Budget Committee on May 25, 2017. (Screen Capture)

(CNSNews.com) - The Bureau of Economic Analysis’s advance estimate of real gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2017, which was released in April, had the U.S. economy growing at an annual rate of just 0.7 percent. The BEA’s second estimate, which is “based on more complete source data” and which was released today, increases the estimate for the annual rate of first quarter growth in real GDP to only 1.2 percent.

In the last quarter of 2016, according to the BEA, real GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.1 percent, while for all of 2016 it grew at only 1.6 percent.

That last time the United States had 3.0-percent or better growth in real GDP for a full year was in 2005. Since then, the nation has seen 11 straight years of less than 3.0 percent growth.

“The percent change in real GDP [for the first quarter of 2017] was revised up from the advance estimate, reflecting upward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment, PCE [personal consumption expenditures], and state and local government spending that were partly offset by a downward revision to private inventory investment,” said the BEA.

Testifying about President Donald Trump’s budget proposal in the Senate Budget Committee on Thursday, White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney stressed that a central aim of the Trump’s budget and administration is to return America to 3-percent annual growth in real GDP.

“The foundation for American greatness is 3 percent growth,” said Mulvaney.

“Every single time I'm in the Oval Office talking to the president, whether it's on budgets, tax policy, trade policy, energy policy, regulatory policy, those discussions are driven by one goal and one goal only: How do we get America back on track in the economy?” he said.

“There are some folks who believe--and many of those folks happen to work at the Congressional Budget Office--that 1.9 percent growth is the best we can do forever,” said Mulvaney.

“We refuse to accept, in this administration, that pessimistic view of the future,” he said. “We refuse to accept that the new normal is 1.9 percent, especially when the history of this nation is above 3 percent. And that goes back to the founding, you go back to World War II, if you want ”

“In the 1990s, when I was a younger man, we had excellent growth in this country,”  Mulvaney said. “We had it under a Democrat administration and a Republican-controlled Congress.  If you got fired back then during a healthy American economy, you could find another job easily. If you did not like your job, you could quit and start…your own business. That type of optimism dies in a 1.9 percent economic growth world. And we need it back. And everything we do in this administration, including the principles in this budget, are designed to get us back to 3 percent growth.”

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