U.S. GDP grew at an annualized rate of 2.3% in Q1—slower than Q4's 2.9% but quicker than the 2.1% consensus estimate. The better-than-expected performance came even though the economy was rattled by volatile stock markets and the announcement of potential tariffs on certain imports. Growth slower than the previous three quarters was due to weaker contributions from personal consumption expenditure, non-residential fixed investment, exports and government spending. Despite a buildup in inventories, slightly slower import growth subtracted a little from overall GDP growth.
Gross Domestic Product grew at an annualized rate of 2.6% in Q4—slower than both the 3.2% registered in Q3 and the 3.0% consensus estimate. The weaker-than-expected growth reflected some drag from net exports and inventories, which somewhat offset the quarter's strong consumer spending. Government spending rose 3%, amid post-hurricane rebuilding efforts. For the year, GDP grew by 2.3% in 2017, up from 1.5% in 2016.
Gross Domestic Product grew at an annualized rate of 3.0% in Q3 2017, surpassing the 2.5% consensus estimate. This was the best third quarter since Q3 2014—when growth was 5.2%—and it was only the third time that growth has reached 3% or higher in the past 12 quarters.
An update on EA's U.S. macroeconomic outlook: Even if Trump is able to enact his economic policies as planned, the stimulus will be slugging against a mature economy. Higher interest rates, the strong dollar, and a tight labor market are enough reason to believe that the natural business cycle is on the downslope. Moreover, there is plenty of evidence that fiscal policy is less effective when the economy is at full capacity, so that will work against any stimulus as well...
There's no reason for the Fed to be vocal at this point, and 2017's first FOMC meeting saw no policy changes made. The Fed is keenly aware of the heightened degree of fiscal uncertainty and clearly has not bought into the notion—already accepted by many economic forecasters—that fiscal stimulus will launch the economy into higher gear. EA's baseline outlook remains tempered as well, at least until we see where the new administration is heading.
Automation is suddenly making headlines in business and finance news reporting. In a recent ViewPoint, I address the broad issue of automation permanently displacing certain types of workers, and what implications that might hold for CRE.
Since the global financial crisis, we have seen numerous studies of fiscal policy, and of the so-called fiscal multiplier, which measures the response of economic variables to a one-time increase in government spending. Since the November election, there has been much talk about such spending—specifically, on infrastructure. Given recent research, however, this infrastructure spending may not be particularly stimulative.