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BEA: Economy Growth Continues With 3.2% in First Quarter

The good news is that the economy continues to show growth, with a 3.2 percent increase in the first quarter. What's not so good is that the pace isn't nearly strong enough for true economic recovery from the recession period

The big factor was consumer spending which grew at an annual rate 3.6 percent in the first part of the year. In the previous three months the rate was 1.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), which also cautioned that the first-quarter advance estimate released is subject to change.

The report says the economic growth was primarily due to growth in personal consumption expenditures, private inventory investment, exports, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by decreases in state and local government spending and in residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, increased 1.7 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 2.0 percent in the fourth. The federal pay raise for civilian and military personnel added 0.2 percentage point to the change in the first-quarter gross domestic purchases price index.

Real nonresidential fixed investment increased 4.1 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 5.3 percent in the fourth. Nonresidential structures decreased 14.0 percent, compared with a decrease of 18.0 percent. Equipment and software increased 13.4 percent, compared with an increase of 19.0 percent. Real residential fixed investment decreased 10.9 percent, in contrast to an increase of 3.8 percent.

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