Disappointing news from the Commerce Department this morning: The U.S. gross domestic product advanced at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of just 0.5 percent in the first quarter. That was the worst quarterly performance for our economy in two years.
The economy had expanded 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, and at 2.0 percent in the third quarter. For all of 2015, GDP advanced 2.4 percent, the same rate as in 2014.
These slow starts to the year are nothing new. GDP shrank in the opening quarter of 2014 and grew by just 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2015. Both years, growth bounced back to more typicsal numbers over the balance of the year.