GDP holds at 1.8 percent

May 26, 2011 at 11:32 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. gross domestic product held at a disappointing 1.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Economist had expected the second estimate of the GDP to show an improvement with the consensus forecast calling for 2.2 percent growth. Commerce, however, kept the figure consistent with the growth rate released a month earlier in the first of its three estimates.

Each estimate reflects an increase in data available for the report.

Economists had expected an increase of consumer spending, which did not materialize. Consumer spending and increased exports were countered by a sharp upturn in imports in the first quarter, the department said.

The Commerce Department said consumer spending increased 2.2 percent, a downward revision from a month ago, when spending was reported to have increased 2.7 percent. Consumer prices in the quarter rose 3.8 percent, unrevised from the previous estimate. Core prices, which excludes food and energy items, rose 2.2 percent.

Real imports of goods and services, which refers to imports minus the rate of inflation, rose 7.5 percent, while real exports rose 9.2 percent in the first quarter.

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