The first GDP estimates for the second quarter are out and it doesn't look good for the economy.
The BLS notes the economy grew at an anemic 1.5% after an adjusted first quarter rise from 1.9% to 2.0%.
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2012, (that is, from the first quarter to the second quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 2.0 percent. [revised up from 1.9 percent]
The increase in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a negative contribution from state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.
The deceleration in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected a deceleration in PCE, an acceleration in imports, and decelerations in residential fixed investment and in nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by an upturn in private inventory investment, a smaller decrease in federal government spending, and an acceleration in exports.
But revisions to previous quarters show a much greater slowdown that anyone previously realized.
Reuters actually takes a more cautious tone, reporting that the decline wasn't as bad as expected, but doesn't try to put any more positive spin on what is clearly a bad result. They also note that the BEA has revised 2011Q4 to 4.1% growth, a rather eye-popping change from the already thrice-revised 3.0%.
From 4% growth at the end of last year to 1.5% by the end of June means the economy is almost in free fall. The mystery is why, if the economy were growing at a robust 4% last year wasn't the jobs picture brightening? It actually was improving with more than 200,000 jobs a month being created. That didn't effect the unemployment rate as much due to more people re-entering the work force after becoming discouraged over the previous 3 years.
Now, unemployment is likely to be on the rise again. And it is growing more likely that the Federal Reserve will provide more stimulus to try to get the economy moving again.