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May 27, 2004

Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal Sends Economy Into Tailspin
By the way, the GDP grew 4.4% in the first quarter

1Q GDP growth revised up to 4.4%.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The economy grew at a 4.4 percent annual rate in the first quarter of this year, slightly faster than previously thought and fresh evidence that the recovery possessed good momentum as it headed into the current quarter.

The increase in gross domestic product from January through March reported by the Commerce Department on Thursday marked an improvement from both the 4.2 percent pace first estimated for the quarter a month ago and the 4.1 percent growth rate registered in the final quarter of 2003.

The GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States. While the latest reading was just shy of the 4.5 percent pace that some analysts were forecasting, it nevertheless represented a solid performance.

It may be revised again. I'm still looking for 4.5% or 4.6%.

Separately, the Labor Department reported that new applications for unemployment benefits dropped last week by a seasonally adjusted 3,000 to 344,000, another hopeful sign for a labor market recovery.

...

Although consumers and the federal government did their part to support the economy in the first quarter, the better reading on GDP for the period in large part reflected stronger investment by businesses to build up inventories, a good sign that companies are more confident about the economy's prospects.

From April to June, the economy is expected to grow at a rate in the range of 4.5 percent to 5 percent, according to some analysts.

...

The country has lost a net 1.5 million jobs since Bush took office in January 2001, something Kerry points to as evidence that the president's economic policies aren't working. But Bush says they are, and that the best way to create jobs is to make the economy stronger.

Hmmm. Finally someone in the media revised that "2.3 million lost jobs" figure downwards. I think we've only lost a net of 1 million jobs, though. 2.3 million minus 1.3 million equals 1 million.

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