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Economic growth of 0.1 percent doesn’t worry economists

McClatchy (5/1, Hall, Subscription Publication) reports that the GDP grew at a 0.1 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2014, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday “in a report that underscored the hurdles still weighing against a fuller recovery.” That follows a “solid” 2.6 percent rate during the fourth quarter of 2013. McClatchy said that the “terrible winter weather that gripped much of the nation in January and February got a lot of blame for Wednesday’s weak number.” McClatchy also reports that, on NAM’s “Shopfloor” blog, chief economist Chad Moutray wrote, “I would not be surprised if this [GDP] figure is revised upward somewhat when the March data comes into clearer focus, which had already indicated a rebound from weather-related softness in the prior two months.” The Jacksonville (FL) Business Journal (4/30, Hoover, Subscription Publication) also carried the story with Moutray’s quote.

The New York Times (5/1, Subscription Publication) adds that “many experts” had expected a slowdown in the first quarter, “especially in the wake of more robust growth in the second half of 2013 and very cold weather in January and February,” but the numbers were “still drastically below the 1.2 percent rate of expansion that Wall Street had been expecting.”

The Wall Street Journal (5/1, Morath, Leubsdorf, Subscription Publication) adds that economists whom it had surveyed expected Q1 growth to come in at 1.1%.

On its front page, the Washington Post (5/1, A1, Mui) reports that the economy “hit the brakes again despite hopes that 2014 would be the breakout year for the recovery.” However, “many remain optimistic that growth will speed up – it will just take longer to do so.” The Post says that some economists even argue that “slow growth during the first quarter simply means a bigger bounce-back in the second quarter.”

Bloomberg News (5/1, Smialek) says consumer spending “rose more than forecast, propelled by the biggest gain in services in 14 years.” Bloomberg adds that increases in “retail sales, employment and manufacturing at the end of the quarter indicate the setback will be temporary.”

The Washington Times (5/1, Hill) reports that although consumers “seemingly did their part to keep the economy going,” and consumer spending was up a “solid” 3%, “much of that increase was spent on the increased cost of heating their homes.”

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