According to the Commerce Department, the US economy expanded by 0.6 percent in the first quarter of this year:
The U.S. economy expanded at a 0.6 percent annual pace in the first quarter, reflecting an increase in inventories as consumers retrenched and companies cut investment.
The gain in gross domestic product, the sum of all goods and services produced, was more than forecast and matched the rate of the previous three months, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. …
To get the 0.6 percent growth number, nominal GDP had to be adjusted for inflation (from the same article):
The report’s price index increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent, lower than forecast, compared with a 2.4 percent gain in the prior quarter.
The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, which is tied to consumer spending and strips out food and energy costs, rose at a 2.2 percent pace, down from 2.5 percent.
The report´s 2.6 percent rate of inflation is especially interesting in comparison to the 2006 rate reported in January 2007:
Last year, the nation’s inflation rate declined to its lowest level since 2003. But now, economists are wondering if the 2.6 percent rate may be about as low as it’s going to get for a while.
So if the inflation rate in Q1 2008 still is 2.6 percent, it also means that, despite all the increases in the price of crude oil, gas, food and a whole range of other commodities, the rate also still is at its lowest level since 2003! Amazing!
Just for example, the price for potash, a vital fertilizer, rose 29% in Q4 207 alone and it had no impact on inflation at all. Downright eerie!
This is especially welcome news because if inflation had been any higher, GDP growth in Q1 2008 would have actually have been negative. Whew, I am so relieved!