Growth Slow, but Exports Help Stave Off Contraction
The New York Times / MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM
30-Apr-2008 (one comment)

The economy struggled through the first three months of 2008, weighed down by the housing slump and a hesitant consumer, but export sales and inventory growth helped stave off a contraction. The gross domestic product grew at a 0.6 percent annual rate in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday, holding steady from the last three months of 2007. The expansion, however slim, came as something of a relief to Wall Street, which had been bracing for a contraction. Many analysts have labeled the current downturn a recession, but the economy appears so far to have avoided the informal definition of two consecutive quarters of contraction. Still, the report showed the economy had slowed to a crawl. G.D.P. grew at a 4.9 percent pace in the third quarter of 2007, before the subprime mortgage crisis began to expand into other sectors.


U.S. First-Quarter Growth Stronger Than Forecast

by aryanium on

Another more subjective measure used by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) states that “a recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.”

Of this list, the NBER tells us that “employment is probably the single most reliable indicator” of a recession.

The U.S. unemployment rate remains steady at 4.7 percent, the envy of the world. The unemployment rate of, say, France is at 8.2 percent – nearly double the U.S. rate – and its GDP is growing at only 1.8 percent.