U.S. economy grew 3.2% in early 2019, smashing expectations

U.S. economy grew 3.2% in early 2019, smashing expectations

[Ed. – The Post should give this writer a raise for working so hard to make great news sound mediocre.]

The U.S. economy expanded at a strong 3.2 percent annualized rate from January through March, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday, blowing past expectations mainly because of companies beefing up their inventories and a smaller trade deficit, factors that aren’t expected to last.

Better-than-expected growth, the ongoing strength in the job market and fresh stock market highs this week are allaying fears that a recession or severe downturn is on the horizon. The slowdown in Europe and China appears to have had little effect on the United States so far.

“The economy is not slowing nearly as much as people think,” said Neil Dutta, head of economics at RenMac Research. “A 3.2 percent pace cannot be sustained, but the Federal Reserve and markets have probably cut their growth estimates too far for this year.”

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Many economists initially predicted anemic growth at the start of 2019 as the partial government shutdown and a rash of extremely cold weather caused many businesses and consumers to hit the pause button on big purchases, but forecasters raised their estimates to 2.3 percent as it became clear companies were re-stocking their shelves.

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