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U.S. First-Quarter GDP Revised to 0.2% Contraction

Wall Street Journal (06/24/15) Eric Morath; Kate Davidson

The economic slowdown earlier this year was not as drastic as previously estimated, according to revised data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Gross domestic product shrank at a 0.2% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the first quarter; the agency previously estimated GDP contracted 0.7% in the quarter. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.2% decline.

Consumer spending was stronger than previously estimated and companies stocked up more inventory, the data indicate. Despite the good news, the latest reading is the fifth time during the six-year economic recovery that the economy did not achieve at least a 1.0% growth rate for a quarter.

Still, underlying data suggest the economy may grow later this year. Consumer spending grew at a revised 2.1% rate in the first quarter, up from the previous estimate of 1.8%. Officials with the U.S. Federal Reserve forecast the economy will grow between 1.8% and 2.0% this year, according to projections released earlier this month, although that would be a slowdown from the 2014 rate.