U.S. GROWTH ANEMIC – AT 9:07 A.M. ET: Common sense tells us that the primary way out of economic decline is economic growth. But economic growth for the fourth quarter of 2012 was positively anemic, even alarming. One slight change and we would have been in negative territory. From MarketWatch, in The Wall Street Journal:
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The U.S. economy grew in the fourth quarter - but just barely - instead of contracting for the first time in three and a half years, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The U.S. expanded at a 0.1% annual rate in the last three months of 2012, better than the initially reported 0.1% drop but well below the third quarter's 3.1% pace. Stronger residential construction and an improvement in net exports pushed growth into positive territory. They offset a bigger decline in government spending than previously suggested as well as a sharper deceleration in the buildup of business inventories. Construction spending on new homes was revised up to a 17.5% increase from 15.3%. Exports fell a revised 3.9% instead of 5.7%, while imports dropped a sharper 4.5% vs. an initially reported 3.2% decline. Consumer spending was revised down a tick to 2.1%, while government spending dropped 6.9% instead of 6.6% as originally reported. Business inventories, meanwhile, grew a scant $12 billion in the fourth quarter after previous advances of $60.3 billion in the third quarter and $41.4 billion in the second.
COMMENT: Bottom line is that our so-called recovery is so sluggish as to be barely noticeable. Our political problem is that Obama has been skillful, with the help of a compliant press, in blaming the GOP, and a good chunk of the public is buying the argument.
February 28, 2013