US economy grows at slower rate - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

US economy grows at slower rate

Posted: Updated:

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER

AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first three months of the year, significantly slower than first thought. The steep revision was mostly because consumers spent less than previously estimated, a sign that higher taxes could be having a deeper impact on growth.

The Commerce Department revised its growth estimate for the January-March quarter down from a 2.4 percent annual rate. The revised rate was still faster than the 0.4 percent rate in the October-December quarter.

Economists had thought growth in the April-June quarter would be 2 percent or less, although the revision will likely change those estimates. They had also expected growth to strengthen in the second half of this year.

The Federal Reserve last week said that it would begin to slow its bond purchases later this year and end them next year if the economy continues to strengthen. The Fed's bond purchases have helped keep long-term interest rates low. The revision also may alter that plan, if growth stays weak.

The latest estimate was the government's third look at first-quarter growth. The bulk of the revision was because consumer spending was cut to an annual rate of 2.6 percent. That's sharply lower than the 3.4 percent rate estimated last month. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

Much of the change reflected a lower estimate for spending on services such as heat and electricity. Export growth was also trimmed as was investment spending by businesses in buildings.

An increase in Social Security taxes on Jan. 1 has reduced take-home pay for most Americans. A person earning $50,000 a year has roughly $1,000 less to spend, while a high-earning couple has less than $4,500.

Many economists had thought that the tax increase, along with steep government spending cuts, would start to affect consumers in the second quarter, which ends next week. But the revision suggests the tax increase may have hampered consumer spending a little earlier than thought.

Economists had predicted that growth would rebound to a rate of around 2.5 percent in the July-September quarter and to more than a 3 percent rate in the final three months of the year.

The Fed's latest economic projections are for growth of 2.3 percent to 2.6 percent this year. And it predicts that growth will accelerate next year to as much as 3.5 percent.

The latest reports have been encouraging. U.S. factories are fielding more orders. Home sales and prices are rising, signaling a stronger housing recovery. Spending at retail businesses rose in May. And employers added 175,000 jobs last month, which almost exactly matched the average increase of the previous 12 months.

Steady job growth has gradually reduced the unemployment rate to 7.6 percent from a peak of 10 percent in 2009. And it has lifted Americans' confidence in the economy to its highest point in 5 1/2 years.

Consumers' confidence in the economy is watched closely because their spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

AP-WF-06-26-13 1303GMT

  • Your MoneyMore>>

  • Social streaming video from your iPhone with YEVVO

    Social streaming video from your iPhone with YEVVO

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:46 AM EDT2014-04-16 12:46:01 GMT
    We met YEVVO's 26-year-old co-founder and CEO, Ben Rubin, on a rainy day in Madison Square Park. Among the four of us (Ben, me, my photographer, and the representative from Ben's PR firm), we had four smartphones and the free app Rubin created."What if you were going live during this interview and then somebody [online] started asking questions and then [that somebody] actually helped to create the content?" Rubin asked.
    We met YEVVO's 26-year-old co-founder and CEO, Ben Rubin, on a rainy day in Madison Square Park. Among the four of us (Ben, me, my photographer, and the representative from Ben's PR firm), we had four smartphones and the free app Rubin created."What if you were going live during this interview and then somebody [online] started asking questions and then [that somebody] actually helped to create the content?" Rubin asked.
  • Heartbleed: Android devices may be vulnerable

    Heartbleed: Android devices may be vulnerable

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:14 PM EDT2014-04-16 02:14:46 GMT
    If you've heard about the Heartbleed bug, maybe you've already changed all your passwords and online security information. But Android users may still be at risk. Lance Ulanoff, senior editor of the online tech site Mashable, explains: "For the most part, Heartbleed has really been about the services that you access, and not local devices so the encryption on the device may have the same vulnerability."
    If you've heard about the Heartbleed bug, maybe you've already changed all your passwords and online security information. But Android users may still be at risk. Lance Ulanoff, senior editor of the online tech site Mashable, explains: "For the most part, Heartbleed has really been about the services that you access, and not local devices so the encryption on the device may have the same vulnerability."
  • Connecticut casinos post March slot revenue drop

    Connecticut casinos post March slot revenue drop

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 9:34 PM EDT2014-04-16 01:34:00 GMT
    Connecticut's Indian-run casinos say slot machine revenue fell sharply in March, with Foxwoods Resort Casino citing an "ultra-competitive" market. Foxwoods reported Tuesday that the share of wagers, known as revenue, was $44.6 million, down 10 percent from March 2013. Total slot machine wagering at the Mashantucket Pequot tribal casino was $566 million, down 5 percent.
    Connecticut's Indian-run casinos say slot machine revenue fell sharply in March, with Foxwoods Resort Casino citing an "ultra-competitive" market. Foxwoods reported Tuesday that the share of wagers, known as revenue, was $44.6 million, down 10 percent from March 2013. Total slot machine wagering at the Mashantucket Pequot tribal casino was $566 million, down 5 percent.
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices