Q1 GDP: The Economy Grew, but Just Barely

by: Eddy Elfenbein

First-quarter GDP came in at +0.6%. That's not a lot, but it is positive. Naturally, this number will be subject to several revisions and re-revisions of previous revisions.

Even though we haven't reached an official recession yet, which is usually defined as back-to-back quarters of negative GDP, the economy has had below-trend growth for six of the last eight quarters. Below is a table showing economic growth for the trailing eight quarters (not annualized but adjusted for inflation). You can really see how much economic growth has down-shifted.

On a bizarre note, yesterday's GDP report showed that the economy grew by almost exactly the same rate in the first quarter of 2008 as in the first quarter in 2007. One year ago, the economy grew by 0.6009%. For this year's first quarter, the number was 0.5966%.