The American people by a 2-1 margin believe we're in recession.
But the economy refuses to cooperate. An official recession would involve 2 consecutive quarters of negative or no growth. Figures released by the Commerce Department today make it clear that the economy outperformed expectations in the 1st quarter, growing at revised rate of .9%:
There it is. You see it in black and white. Even with the horrible performance of the housing industry, we may be able to avoid a full blown recession after all.
The new reading on gross domestic product, released by the Commerce Department on Thursday, was an improvement from the government's initial growth estimate for the January-to-March quarter as well as the economy's performance in the final quarter of last year. Both periods were pegged at a 0.6 percent growth rate.
Gross domestic product, or GDP, measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States.
The first-quarter performance matched analysts' forecasts and offered a somewhat encouraging sign because it showed the economy was still growing at that time. The figure didn't meet a definition of recession, which under a rough rule is two straight quarters of shrinking GDP, and might raise hopes the country can dodge a full-blown downturn.
Fallout from the housing crisis continued to be a big drag on overall economic growth.
What that would do to the political race is place the Democrats in the awkward position of appearing to root for a recession since they have been saying the economy is there already for months. If the economy refuses to cooperate and does not tip into recession, the Democrats are going to look very foolish on election day.